By descent, I’m a Cretan – from the island of Crete. My family name is Greek (Kardamakis). We have a long history of endurance running! My running philosophy derives from the modern Greek philosopher, Nikos Kazantzakis:
“Give me a command, beloved grandfather.”
Smiling, you placed your hand upon my head. It was not a hand, it was multicoloured fire. The flame suffused my mind to the very roots.
“Reach what you can, my child.”
Your voice was grave and dark, as though issuing from the deep larynx of the earth.
It reached the roots of my mind, but my heart remained unshaken.
“Grandfather,” I called more loudly now, “give me a more difficult, more Cretan command.”
Hardly had I finished speaking when, all at once, a hissing flame cleaved the air. The indomitable ancestor with the thyme roots tangled in his locks vanished from my sight; a cry was left on Sinai’s peak, an upright cry full of command, and the air trembled:
“Reach what you cannot.”
Kazantzakis’ four words sum up my philosophy of running. You must set lofty goals to achieve lofty goals. If we only reach for what we know we can achieve, indeed, that is all we ever may reach.