Updated: May 19
What is it about some people that makes them run marathons, bike for a century of miles, or swim the english channel? There are many athletic feats that people strive for, but why? When we look at events like GoRuck, Tough Mudder, Ultra Marathons, etc. we wonder, why people pay money to experience prolonged agony.
We must first understand the three different types of fun.
Type 1 Fun
Think cold beer, feet in the sand, your favorite tv show, or dinner with friends. This is the type of fun that is in the moment, easy and relaxed.
Fun now, nothing later.
Type 2 Fun
Think running a marathon, climbing a mountain, or completing a lifelong goal. Type 2 is rarely fun at all in the moment. Later you think back to all the time you spent investing in your accomplishment and realize that you’re better because of the hardships endured.
Difficult now, impactful later.
Type 3 Fun
Some argue that to complete the spectrum, a third type of fun is involved. Type 3 fun would be overindulging in type 1 fun to the point where it comes back to haunt you later. This would include drinking too much, injuring yourself or others carelessly, driving recklessly, etc.
Fun now, regretful later.
Our 21st century American activities often air on the side of Type 1 fun. With services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and DoorDash, we have grown accustom to immediate gratification. With all of these products encouraging us to get things faster, it is important for us to counteract that feeling with challenges that take time to manifest.
Perhaps millions of people a year have a desire to run marathons or attempt to climb Everest/Chomolungma because they want to achieve success based on hard work and diligence. We feel more human when we’re striving for a goal that seems out of reach. We crave for a feeling that is beyond immediate gratification because it feels great to accomplish something we thought was impossible.
Joy and happiness are often seen as synonyms, but when we look at the spectrum of fun, these two words assume different meanings. Connected to type 2 fun, joy is a series of small deposits one day at a time that culminate in immense growth long term. On the other hand, happiness involves momentary satisfaction synonymous with type 1 fun like eating an entire pizza or making an impulse buy.
We seek joy through type 2 fun because we grow through challenges. Marathon runners aren’t seeking injuries; they’re hungry for something greater than they can imagine. This is yet another way that our lives are positively affected through athleticism.
That Was Fun?
August 24, 2019
Writer: Jameson MacFarland-Hall