Wednesday, May 21, 2014

About That Time I Killed a Guy

I run. I run a lot. It’s a big part of my service here in Thailand. I run because I like it, it keeps me in shape, and it helps me to project a good image indirectly. When I first got here to site and I started running people thought I was crazy. I must have looked insane to them.
 “What are you doing!? It’s too hot to be exercising!” “What are you running from?” and “Where are you going?” Were all common questions thrown at me by the villagers.

Well after many months of being the only person out there hitting the pavement something strange happened. I saw another jogger. Then after a couple more weeks, another. Then another. Then another.  People started running or going for afternoon jogs. There was a solid group out almost every day.  We would smile and wave at each other as we passed. Shouts of “Suu suu! (Go go!)” were thrown about. I indirectly had encouraged others to start running. It felt good. I was making a positive impact on my community. Then it happened.

Rainy season turned into cool. Cool season dragged on. Then cool season started turning to hot. It was getting quite warm. Runs became more difficult. I showed up to school one day and was confronted with the news. “Joel! You can’t run anymore! A man died. His heart stopped because he was running. You must stop.”

Yep. A man had a heart attack while out running. My positive impact had turned deadly. I came to Thailand to spread joy and peace. Well this is awkward... 

I reassured everyone that I was adequately hydrating and that I was safe. The man in question turned out to be mid 50s, overweight, and wasn’t hydrating. I felt safe to continue my runs. The others, however, did not. No longer are there others running with me. No more casual jogs. People are back to staring in bewilderment as I run past. “Surely he must be crazy! Running is too dangerous.” 

So thats the story of how I helped start a fitness craze. A craze that ended tragically. 

1 comment:

  1. That's... interesting. Sorry to hear, but glad to hear you're still running!! People here haven't quite started running yet, but a lot of people have started biking and hula hooping more. Waiting for my first running buddy to pop up...