Dr. George Sheehan on Running and Being

The following is a brief excerpt from Dr. George Sheehand's 1978 book "Running and Being," in which he discusses why people participate in fitness programs or any other activity.

| September/October 1978

"Where have all the heroes gone? They've gone with the simplicities and the pieties and the easy answers of another era. But that may not be all bad ... not if our lack of such easy heroes can be an indication of the maturity of our age: a realization that every man has come into his own and has the capacity of making a success of his own life, of being able to say, 'I have found my hero and he is me.' "

These are the words of Dr. George Sheehan—runner, philosopher, writer, cardiologist. (Of the latter Sheehan says, "A cardiologist is a doctor who isn't intelligent enough to be a general practitioner.')

A man with a sense of humor, a sense of place, and a sense of self. We're very happy to excerpt from his latest effort, Running and Being, The Total Experience, by Dr. George Sheehan copyright © 1978 by George A. Sheehan, M.D. Reprinted by permission of Simon and Schuster, a division of Gulf and Western Corp.

I propose to you that human enterprises succeed because they are absolutely rational or because they are just as absolutely absurd. Science is a success, but then so is religion. Knowledge succeeds, but so does faith. We usually act when something can be proven. But we act with equal frequency when it cannot.

Just so are there two types of successful fitness programs. One is rational, practical, physiological; the other non-rational, mystical, and psychological. One is obligatory; the other voluntary. One aimed at changing the person to fit the lifestyle; the other aimed at changing the lifestyle to fit the person. One is utilitarian; the other creative. One is work; the other play.

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