I am not a marathon runner; I'm not even an experienced runner. In fact, I'm a professional drummer, and I am a new runner. In the drumming world, I learned firsthand that I should try to stand on the shoulders of giants - the legends that paved the paths. Well, I found that to be the case in the running world as well. And here are "my" three giants, who each have paved some sort of unique path for me:

1. Stu Mittleman - "Our physiology is exquisitely designed for running and walking ... To engage in this motion brings us one step closer to what we are."

I was always content walking. Yes, I ran cross-country one year, but that was in 1987, and it was not a strong passion. But, what kept popping back up in my head was the line in Stu's book Slow Burn that stated, "When the time is right, you will run, and once you do, you will open up the possibility that your life will never be the same." One day, on my way to the track, I intuitively knew this was the day it would happen - that I would transition from walking to running. And it did. It was the first time in years that I ran. As I commenced my strides, I wasn't exactly the replica of an Olympic Champion … I even felt the pressure in my legs from such an unfamiliar movements … but I began; I took my next step.

2. George Sheehan
I was blown away when I found Dr. George Sheehan's book, Running to Win: How to Achieve the Physical, Mental & Spiritual Victories of Running. It is a fantastic, inspirational text that embodies and integrates my older passion, psychology; and my newer passion, running. Wow! With lines such as "Through running I have learned what I can be and do" and "Through becoming a runner one accomplishes a new type of being", how can one not be motivated? How transcendent! I was now more in touch with running as it pertained to human potential and spirituality; thus my amount of time on the roads increased. I took my next step.

3. President Bush
This has little to do with a political preference, but rather a lifestyle preference. Whether Republican, Democrat or Independent, this gentleman is committed to running. In the October issue of Runner's World, President Bush spoke of how running positively affects him: It clears his mind and helps him keep disciplined, setting goals and pushing toward them. He also stated how it keeps him young and feeling fantastic. In general, President Bush spoke of running being a vehicle that can heal people and increase self-esteem. He was convinced it helped him quit smoking. I quit smoking. I took my next step.

Now, between the philosophies and results of Stu Mittleman, Dr. George Sheehan and President Bush, I took my running to the next plane, an hour run. No, this isnt enough to complete a marathon, but it's a far cry from my five minute jog that signaled pain from my legs months before.

I never thought I'd see the day I starting running again … but I began; I took my next step. And, thousands of steps later, 25 pounds lighter, 5 inches thinner in the waist, and the absence of 12,000 puffs of nicotine I ordinarily would have inhaled, I pay gratitude to the people who passed down their positive knowledge and experience.

In the past, I wrote an article called "It Only takes a Spark … Pass it on", a story of how I was inspired in the drum world and was passing it on. Now I'm inspired in the running world, and this is my obligation to pass it on; Now it's up to you to accept it ... And take the next step.

Author's Bio: 

Dan Britt is a NJ Drum Instructor who conducts clinics in public schools. His articles have appeared in internationial magazines such as Rhythm, Music Teacher, SelfGrowth.com, and OfSpirit.com. Dan can be reached via e-mail @ danbsticks@aol.com or via his website @ www.dannybritt.com