As we stood on the start line for the 5th edition of World’s Toughest Mudder, thousands took a moment of silence for those across the world dealing with the horrific aftermath of the Paris and other bombings. We stood in silence, and next to me a couple had a small cardboard sign #prayforparis. The moment was brief and then over 1200 racers were off to a crowd easily triple that cheering everyone on. Then started the 24-hours of pain, suffering, but also humanity at it’s best.
What Can Endurance Racing Teach us of Humanity?
If you were at the event chances are you saw someone help another in an extraordinary way whether on an obstacle, in the pit, or somewhere in between. Complete strangers lent a hand to a fellow human selflessly. They asked for nothing in return instead saw someone in need and jumped to action. Now as with life there are always exceptions but overall people acted in a way that was for the greater good.
Reading the World’s Toughest Mudder Community Facebook Group countless stories are filling my feed of people helping people. People were looking out for their fellow athlete. The story of a racer with her own struggles stopping, sacrificing her race, to help make sure a borderline hypothermic team was nursed back to health so they could continue. The stories of the crewless athletes being adopted by a neighboring pit crew. Racers were inviting those without tents to share. Food was given to complete strangers, clothing, and the list goes on. The theme – people helping people.
While I was in the Copper Canyons last year, I learned the Tarahumara word for these acts of kindness – Korima – from a blog post on uddhamsotto.com
“Korima” sounds like karma and functions the same way, except in the here and now. It’s your obligation to share whatever you can spare, instantly and with no expectations: once the gift leaves your hand, it was never yours to begin with. The Tarahumara have no monetary system, so ‘korima’ is how they do business: their economy is based on trading favours and the occassional cauldron of corn beer.
In 2014, I saw Korima in action while in the Copper Canyons and have seen Korima play out over and over again amongst my “Mas Loco” friends and family. I try to incorporate Korima into my daily life when possible, sometimes more successfully than other times. At WTM, Korima was all around whether people knew it or not.
All the selfless acts of kindness to strangers unfolding before my eyes while on social media and news outlets around the world stories of hatred and fear plastered the airways. States were declaring they would not welcome others, and so on. The exact opposite of that was happening in our small community in the desert. As I adjust back to normal life at home and behind the computer my thoughts are of the two very different stories that played out over the weekend.
I was on the phone with my partner yesterday as I made the long drive back to Salt Lake City. We were discussing the current events, the race, and other tidbits of life. I remember saying to him, that I hoped some of acts of Korima I experienced first hand at WTM would flow over into regular life for my fellow racers. Strangers helping strangers, we were no longer Tough Mudders, Spartan Racers, Terrain Racers, Ultramarathoners, or Average Joes, labels were stripped away, and we were all just people. People helping people, showcasing the best of humanity.
In a world filled with so much hate and fear, we could all use a little more love and sharing. As they say change comes from within, I may not change the world, but if one random act of kindness can help a complete stranger than I am succeeding. May you bring the practice of Korima into your life.