I read comic books voraciously when I was in middle school. It was a chemical dependency. I was addicted to the incredible acts performed by the heroes occupying the pages and images therein.
Superman was a veritable god with seemingly no chinks in his armor. He could do everything and nothing (shy of Kryptonite) could stop him.
Spider-Man swung majestically through New York City vanquishing muggers, robbers, and purse snatchers. His uncanny spider sense would detect danger enabling him to avert a crisis at the last moment.
All of them were amazing. But, the one I connected with most was the dark knight. The man who donned the cowl and cape was who I aspired most to be. Batman simply was 'the man'.
Unlike Superman who seemingly had every power imaginable and Spider-Man whose gifts came courtesy of a radioactive spider, Batman was a mere mortal.
Underneath the cape and cowl, he was Bruce Wayne. A billionaire, but a damaged and obsessed man who had no shortage of flaws. His pursuit of justice was as relentless as the pursuit of the nefarious often seen by those he battled.
There was a darkness and complexity to batman that always intrigued me. His flawed mortality is what attracted me to him. While he never died, those close to him did.
He bled, he bruised, he failed, but no matter what....he always got back up and kept fighting in his own dark and enigmatic way.
While he was a mere mortal when the cape and cowl were off, he became much more than a mere mortal when he donned them. He became a symbol, an icon, and a predator.
At times, I feel weak, flawed, and afraid. I am as painfully mortal as anyone. I don't have any illusions that I am a super hero.
But, when I don my shorts, when I lace up my shoes, when I stare down the daunting hill in front of me, I become more than just a man.
I can't run faster than a speeding bullet, but I can always run a bit faster than I think. I won't ever swing majestically though New York City like Spider-Man, but sometimes when I run it feels like I am flying.
I won't ever be Batman, but I will push forward despite fatigue, despite pain, despite being bruised or bloodied. I will get up and keep fighting.
I can't be a super hero, but running provides more than enough super heroic moments and I can live with that. I run because I will never be a super hero...