What’s up with the running Doc?

Wilson Orhiunu

First Gentleman with Wilson Orhiunu

Email: babawill2000@gmail.com Twitter: @Babawilly

Wilson Orhiunu qed.ngAs I prepare for the Birmingham Half Marathon on 19-10-2014 I will try here to answer the most frequently asked questions I get about running.

  1. Why run?
  2. What is chasing you?
  3. How long is the distance?
  4. Will you finish the race?
  5. Why run to raise money for charity? Why don’t you just make a donation?

Why run?

It seems inbuilt in man to run. Kids all run both indoors and outdoors. As they grow older they finally get convinced by adults to walk and some will never run again; hence the obesity crisis. Running is important for escaping danger and our bodies are built for running.

There are many health benefits to obtain from running so it is actually surprising that anyone asks, ‘why run?’ No one asks ‘why eat?’ or ‘why sleep?’ Perhaps the benefits of this form of exercise are eclipsed in peoples’ minds by the supposedly difficulties involved in running.

People usually will avoid hardship whenever possible, so seeing someone willingly walk into hardship makes them wonder why. I do the same whenever I read about those marathon runners who race in the Sahara desert (Are there no graves in London that they travel to the Sahara to die? I think to myself).

The inconveniences of running are –


People hate the state of breathlessness and would do anything to avoid it for this state is the closest one can get to what it feels like to be dying.  A pounding chest, aching muscles and a sweaty body compounds the displeasure.

Missing out on fun stuff

Running is best done at fixed times. This can mean sacrificing pleasurable activities. Short term gratification is sacrificed for long term gain by indulging in an immediate discomfort. Not very appealing!

Braving extremes of temperature

The heat of summer and the cold of winter naturally make people to seek comfort.  Rain, snow and cold winds produces an urge to stay indoors tucked under a duvet with a cup of warm beverage for company. Leaving the warmth of a comfortable room for the cold rain is counter intuitive.

Losing time

There is usually a lot to do during the day. Running may take up to an hour and that time needs to be found bearing in mind the domestic demands placed on members of families.


At the end of a busy day in the office, people are tired. Why risk increasing the unpleasantness of fatigue by running up the exhaustion bill?


People have told me they would ‘look silly’ running down the street on account of their numerous wobbly body parts.

Risky roads

Tripping on uneven pavements, being hit by oncoming traffic, being mugged, being attacked by dogs startled when you run round a corner, being caught up and lynched due to mistaken identity when you run into a thief being chased by a mob shouting ‘ole, ole,ole!!’ because you unfortunately are wearing the same colours as the thief  (LOL; Lagos out loud)

What is chasing you? (Wetin dey pursue yu sef?)

This question is mainly from the Nigerian quarters.  It is born out of the proverb that goes thus – the toad running in the day time is either fleeing from a threat or pursuing something lucrative. My answer is that I am fleeing obesity and pursuing fitness

How long is the distance?

A marathon is 26.2 miles long and a Half marathon is 13.1 miles long. D’banj’s maxim- No long thing- does not apply here.

Will you finish the race?

By the grace of God (I am a Nigerian thus there is God in everything we do)

Why race money for charity?

I wondered about this myself when I first came to the UK till I learn how it works here. My formative years were spent in Nigeria where charitable acts were financed through fund raising initiatives where would-be donors gave if they felt the cause was worthy of their money.

The concept of giving because of the difficult of the task to be endured is worthy of your money is how it is done in the UK.  So people run long distances, climb mountains or swim across rivers and ask friends and family to sponsor them with all proceeds going to a designated charity. England’s premier marathon, the Virgin London marathon raises thousands of pounds for UK charities as most of the non- elite participants run to raise money


Participants are divided into the Elites and non-elites or fun runners. The Elites (also referred to as Kenyans and Ethiopians) start at the front and are usually the professionals. The fun runners who consist of the serious fun runners who are members of running clubs and the real fun runners who are more interested in taking part, enjoying the day and raising money. Real fun runners would be the ones with the fancy costumes and the ones who smile and wave at the watching crowd.

Personally persona Personally

I personally run Half Marathons as they provide incentive to run throughout the year. Once you register for a race, you know that you will suffer on race day if you do not train. This training is done according to a schedule and not according to the weather or how your feel.

I run with my I-pod and select whatever Ted lectures, music or preaching tapes I need to listen to before leaving the house. If it rains, then I pat myself on the back for battling the elements.

I cope with the breathlessness and muscle pain by telling myself that – no pain, no gain, short term inconvenience for long term health and fitness, short term story, long term glory.

I am one who needs to meditate and pray daily and I fall asleep if I try to do this sitting in a corner. I must keep moving, so in running I kill two to five stones with one bird.

This year I would be raising money for the Home of God’s Grace Orphanage in Ikorodu. Please e-mail me for details if you wish to make a donation.