A Finland Swede in Bavaria

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Why a world religion? And in 20 languages?

In a blog entry I've explained why I consider running a religion and why I want to spread this religion with social media. Still, what's the point with doing it worldwide? Isn't enough to do it close to my own front door, either at home in Munich, Germany or in my native Finland?

The reason relates to my interest for other countries, cultures and languages. Through my work, I've travelled a lot especially last year, as Ambassador of the product of my former employer. As I got the assignment, I had decided for the duration of my ambassadorial travels to give the first five minutes of my presentation in (one of) the local language(s). And that's what I ended up doing. It all started with Italian; of all languages that I don't speak, I speak Italian the best. Thereafter I presented in Japanese (Swedish sounds, Finnish Staccato). And after I could make myself reasonably understood by an audience in Chinese, I lost the respect for the difficulty of other languages; since then, I've added Russian, Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Estonian, Latvian und Lithuanian to the list. My respect for the value of other languages, on the contrary, grew immensely. The world doesn't become a better place through everyone speaking Bad English with each other.

Clearly, additional languages also represent an extra cost. I cannot present all aspects of Runnism in all languages. Hence I will mostly use the languages that I know best and that I have the most contact with. On that list, Swedish comes first, as my native language and connector to relatives, friends and acquaintances in Finland (and Sweden). On second place, there's German, as I live in Munich since three years and have a German wife (since 17 years). On third place, there's English, as a lingua franca for all friends and acquaintance that neither understand Swedish nor German.

As a next step I contemplated what Runnism should be called in other languages. I concentrated on languages of European origin, and added Chinese (蘭主义) and Japanese (ラニズム) for good measure and for global credibility. I ended up with a list of twenty languages, in which I might write a tweet or two. When translating Runnism I used the analogy to Buddhism. For example, Runnism is called Runnilaisuus in Finnish (analogously to Buddhalaisuus), Runizam in Croat (Budizam), Руннизм in Russian (Буддизм), Runnismo in Italian (Buddhismo) and Runizmas in Lithuanian (Budizmas).

Hence: A world religion, since running is good for all of us and since running connects us beyond the borders of countries and languages. And twenty languages, as I see it as a sign of respect to use the language of one's counterpart.

The Seven Legs of Runnism

Islam builds on Five Pillars. In Buddhism, there are Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. For Judaism and Christianity, the Ten Commandments form a moral foundation.

Runnism has legs, seven of them.



The Seven Legs of Runnism form the Creed of the Religion of Running.

A true Runnist

  1. lives life to the fullest

  2. values long-term health

  3. understands well-being doesn't come without sacrifice

  4. competes only against his or her earlier self

  5. improves gradually, not overnight

  6. may occasionally feel pain but seldom suffers

  7. sees running as a gift, not a burden


Runnism worships physical well-being.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Runnism, the Religion of Running -- why?

Last Wednesday wasn't a normal day for me. I went to a physical Twitter event here in Munich, where I announced my plans to start a new world religion.

This humble intention of mine may need some explanations, lest I will be declared insane. That may happen anyway, though.

Point one: I enjoy running. And when I run, I have time to think. Running rests my soul; when running, simple answers to complex questions often appear to me; I've learnt a lot from the community of runners. I think there's a lot of similarity between running and religions.

Point two: I like to share the pleasure of running with others. Many relate to running as something boring, tiresome, a burden. Before I became a runner, that's how I thought of it myself. Yet, no need for those negative thoughts! Today, running gives me inspiration, variation, a source of energy and of freedom. Running is a gift.

Point three: I believe that social media enable the spreading of that thinking. Through my work I have been exposed to and acquainted with what's called Web 2.0; the human contacts that grow from social media are unbeatable in both quantity and quality.

Consequently, I've decided to combine the above thoughts. So far, I've shared my plans only in German at the #Twittwoch meeting in Munich, which was also filmed.

Let's see what comes out of this plan!