This article originally appeared on VICE US.
We can’t know for whom (or what) the javelina runs, but we can clearly see one thing: that it is running. And not just running, but running with grace and joy. Each hoof strike is an explosion of vitality; the muscles beneath its gray pelt ripple with every step. The javelina runs fast and free, untethered to pedestrian notions of “fitness goals” or “PRs.” Perhaps the javelina runs in a way you wish you could? With pure abandon? The way you imagine you might, every time you lace up the ol’ sneakers?
The javelina’s beautiful sprint reminds me of something I’ve been trying to incorporate more into my daily life, which is: To run places. I’m always leaving myself too little time to get where I need to be, and so one day I thought, why not just run? If the javelina can so easily break into a run, unconcerned with what others might think, why can’t I?
It is clear that everyone, including most runners, hates running. But “running,” to responsible, grown humans, strictly occupies the space of “health chore.” We are grownups, but we are animals, too. And it seems to me that, physical abilities willing, the only thing that stands between us and enjoyment of running is simply booking it when the mood strikes, as the javelina does.
At first it might feel strange, as a grownup in grownup clothes, to simply take off running. Other pedestrians might see you and think, Hey, man, where’s the fire? But what is the deal with the societal constraint that arbitrarily demands we “walk” everywhere we go? Who even made this rule? And why do we follow it? As the javelina clearly shows: Running is already fun, and thrilling. Why can’t we let ourselves have it? The javelina doesn’t care what it looks like, because it looks cool as hell; it’s essentially a pig, yet it, too, can move like a damn gazelle across the savanna.
Years of incorporating athleisure into acceptable, mainstream fashion has only primed us for a world in which anyone can break into a jog or trot anytime they please; whether for the utilitarian purpose of getting somewhere faster, or for the sheer joy of feeling the wind in your hair and the air beneath your feet.
This isn’t about “sneaking in some cardio.” That completely obscures the point. This is about “getting places” and “having a little fun.” Picture yourself back on the elementary school playground, running joyfully from a crush in a game of tag. Why would we be “adults,” schlumping slowly from location to destination, when we could be the mighty javelina, running with abandon down the Arizona street?
Follow Hannah Smothers on Twitter.