What Harry Potter Taught Me About Life and Running

Odd title for a blog, isn’t it? What Harry Potter taught me about life and running…many of you may be thinking I’m crazy right now. What does Harry Potter have to do with running- or life? However, for anyone who’s actually taken time to read the books, there are some very profound quotes in there, that can be applied to several areas of life. I’d like to share some and my interpretations below.

“You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” -Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I always liked this quote, because it makes it clear that you don’t have to be born wealthy, talented or privileged to make a name for yourself, or a future. It shows that everyday people like you and I can get an education, have the career of our dreams, follow our passions, and even run a marathon. Those activities are not reserved for the ultra-wealthy, talented or gifted people of the world. Although it may help to have those qualities, anyone can succeed if they have the patience and passion to pursue their dreams.

“Every great wizard in history has started out like us- students. If they can do it, why not us?” -Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

This is one of the greatest things Harry has ever said in the books. It’s simple, but powerful. Why not me? Why not you? When you started running or whatever form of fitness you work on, were you great at it immediately? Probably not. Did it hurt? Probably. Was it uncomfortable and difficult? Probably. Were there times when you thought about quitting? Sure. But if you did, you wouldn’t be to wherever you are today. This is something I try to continue to pursue in my running. Because I have such a hard time sticking with things, it helps me to realize that every great runner started out where I am…running 5ks and smaller races working their way to the longer distances. No one was born a marathon runner. They all put in hard work and practice to get to where they are today. And that’s exactly what I’m doing.

“Working hard is important. But there is something that matters even more…believing in yourself.” -Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

This piggy-backs along with the above quote, as they were said during the same scene in the movie. What Harry is saying here is pretty clear- your mental attitude determines a lot about your success. I can run everyday as long and hard as I want, but if I go out on race day with a poor attitude and say that I’m not going to do well, then all that training goes down the drain and I probably won’t. It’s my attitude that determines my success. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you make of it.

“I’m going to keep going until I succeed-or die. Don’t think I don’t know how this might end. I’ve known it for years.” -Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Well, a little overkill on the dying part. Most people don’t die while racing. (Not saying it can’t happen, but mostly it doesn’t). However, the point I’m using this quote to make is that Harry was determined to succeed. He wasn’t going to let temporary setbacks overwhelm him and cause him to quit fighting. And that’s a very important thing to learn and keep in mind when you’re pursuing a dream, whether that dream is running, a career, finishing school, or anything really. You have to keep at it. You’re not going to finish immediately, and there are going to be many times when you think that giving up will be easier. But the feeling of accomplishment at the end of your journey will definitely help you and make it all worthwhile in the end.

“It is our choices, Harry, that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities.” -Dumbledore

It wouldn’t be Harry Potter without adding a little more Dumbledore in the mix! I know he’s a fictional character, but if there was anyone in the world I could have a conversation with, real or fake, he’d be on the top of the list. What an inspiring person! And he has some great insight on life. You make choices every day. You decide whether or not to get up and go to work. You decide what to do while you’re there. You decide what you’re going to do when you get home. Seemingly insignificant actions and choices, that, over time, add up to the results you were seeking. Could I choose to stay at home instead of working out? Sure. But would that help my fitness goals or get me closer to running the distance races I’d like to accomplish in the future? Not at all. In fact, it would put me on a downward curve and get me farther from my goals. So this truly means that the choices you make have a pretty profound impact on your life.

“And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.” -Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Another favorite from Dumbledore! Basically, life isn’t anything if you don’t pursue something. Whether it’s a new travel location, your dream career, a hobby or passion, or a love interest, you need to have something in life to fight for and to aim for. Otherwise, you’re not really living you’re merely alive. And we’d all rather be living a fun-filled life! 😉

So now you see (hopefully) that wisdom can be found in the most offbeat places. If I’ve inspired at least one person to take a second look at those “children’s books” I would be happy. You never know what you might come up with!


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