I’m Keelyn McCabe, and I am a second-year at the University of Virginia. I run – and not just for the emotional high at the end. I run to explore, and I run to be. We are all bombarded by an overstimulated world, and it is rare that we seize the opportunity to simply exist. Perhaps it is ironic that I discover the purest stillness in the quick turnover of my feet, but this paradox is what intrigues me most about Japanese long-distance running.
“Why do you run?” is the question consistently asked of these athletes, and in this project, I am on the hunt to discover the answer. I believe the end goal of these ekidens must be more complex than merely attaining glory and honor – the mental fortitude required to endure the excruciating physical strain of a race hints at a second purpose. Is it self-fulfillment Japanese runners seek? Do they find it and reach a new level of understanding about the world around them? What pushes them to lace up their shoes every day and hit the trail? This elusive ‘it’ is the target of my investigations. But how does that translate into a contribution to this film?
Well, each day of our lives is filled with a multitude of sights, sounds, smells, and thoughts - not just our own but of those around us as well. Recreating these experiences in the form of a written story is my forte; thus, I will be responsible for recording and transforming into a narrative much of what our team encounters throughout the creation of this film. In addition, by conducting interviews with the athletes, coaches, and fans of long-distance running, I will be able to gain their perspectives on the questions I asked above. I am very excited to begin this process of learning with my teammates Chandler Collins, Blaise Sevier, and Gabriel Aguto. Combining our individual strengths and recording the insights we gain about ekidens promises to be quite a journey!