Jeweler Sam Drummond and a crew of five guys from all different walks of life, leave the house every Saturday morning to run. For anywhere between 20-40kms. Most people think this is a crazy hour, but for them it keeps them grounded. The city is dark at 5am, the air is crisp and fingers are numb trying to tie the laces on well-worn sneakers. But they do it, because of the profound sense of clarity they experience from getting out and running. Together. A form of meditation, ‘clearing out the cobwebs’, or as Sam would say ‘it gets me out of my head’. Its no secret running impacts positively on the brain. Studies have recorded a positive link between exercise and an increased blood flow, to the frontal executive network system of the brain. This area is associated with many of the attributes we link with ‘clear thinking’, such as concentration, time management and planning. This area is also known to be linked to emotion regulation.
Sam Drummond wasn’t always a running enthusiast, but starting running with a friend in 2009 and realized “i’m good at this”, which sparked a passion, that has seen him go on to compete in many events traversing rugged terrain throughout New Zealand. The camaraderie and determination of this group, energizes them all to set goals and spur each other on. They recently set a goal to circumnavigate three New Zealand mountains in a calendar year. After a few navigation issues (thanks to the lack of rural sign posts!), they did it... or in the words one of them quoting Edmund Hilary, “we knocked the bastards off”. Could there be any better place to run, than out of the confines of the city. Running in native bush, scrambling up hills and navigating new territory in rain, hail or shine? This is what gets the blood pumping for these guys and makes them feel alive. It is also the beauty of New Zealand, in which you can live in a city, and have a rugged landscape right on your doorstep.
There is a certain level of speed and endurance this crew enjoy, but within this there is a grace for age, or those with an injury, with a touch of sarcastic wit to challenge each other to “speed up” or “get hard’ as the last one back is shouting the coffees. Some may say unlikely friendships have formed, focused around the pursuit of an outdoor passion and doing something which enables them to be better fathers, husbands, partners or employers. These men run while most of us are still tucked up in bed anticipating our alarms or brewing our morning coffee. Its not easy. But this time works, as they have children at home to help with, businesses to operate to make a living, and a life to live- in which they have discovered what energizes and keeps them balanced.