I have just finished reading Mike Cudahy's book Wild Trails to Far Horizons - again. For those who haven't heard of Mike, he is one of our greatest "Ultra" runners whose achievements include being the first person to complete the 270 mile Pennine Way in under 3 days (on his 7th attempt) and he completed the "Coast to Coast" in under 2 days.
His book, "Wild Trails to far Horizons" is a fantastic tale of his adventures and achievements and his talent for running is matched by his talent for words. It was after completing his sub 2 day Coast to Coast run in what were challenging conditions to say the least and overcoming the mental battle to retire on a number of occassions that he wrote the following words which I thought captured the emotion and sense of fulfillment that I have shared on completing the West Highland Way. I hope he doesn't mind me quoting from his book.
"Never have I felt such sheer and simle joy at the end of a run. Moments such as these not only provide the answer to why one does things like this but why we are alive at all. One moment of such joy is worth far more than countless years of steady rational living. To have encountered hardship, discomfort, to have experienced one's physical, mental and spiritual limitations and weaknesses, to have found a path beyond them, not conquering them but accepting and yet transcending them, to have been supported, guarded and guided lovingly by friends represents, for me, a joy both sublime and supreme. I ask for no more."
If you haven't read his book - I would urge you to do so and see what running really is about.