Miles 19 & 20


Everyone has dreams. Since I was about 16 years old, one of mine has been to run a marathon. When I cross the finish line in NYC on November 5th, I’ll likely do so with a recorded time of between 4 and 5 hours. In reality though, it will have taken me much longer to get there. There are things inside and outside of us that bring us closer to our dreams. There are also things that delay us, that push us so far away from our goals they are sometimes out of sight. If we are lucky, little by little, we are often able to transform those stumbling blocks into building blocks–they become the foundation for our strength, resilience, and ultimate determination. This series aims to uncover my long journey. Each week, I’ll share the people, places, and things that have brought me to the place I am at today, and that I hope will carry me from the starting line in Staten Island, to the finish line in Central Park. Mile by mile–this, is my 26.2.

Miles 19 & 20- Music

I was never a fan of people being snobbish about music. I guess I’ve just always felt that the beauty of music is that it makes you feel something. In a world where everything else seems to be working to desensitize us, I’m all for people enjoying and holding onto whatever moves them. Perhaps my defense of music tastes stems from the fact that my own can undoubtedly be described as mainstream. There’s a good bit of music that I find from watching TV and movies. I call it my walking around music. This is the only area where I might claim to get a bit more original or eclectic. I’ll catch a small bit of sound in the background of a scene and I just know it’s a song I have to have. I’ll search until I find it and am most often led to artists I’ve never heard of and who have yet to have large scale success. These are not the songs I’ll be revealing to you today.

Instead I want to share a few of the tunes that I’ve been running to for years. As many of you know I listen to podcasts for the majority of my runs–only the last few miles usually go to music. That’s really because I can’t sustain all the emotion that music brings to my running for that many miles–allowing it to push me through the last half hour or so is both all that I can bare, and everything I need.

I know a lot of people listen to a lot of upbeat music when they run–at least that’s what I’m concluding from every single “running” playlist I see made on Spotify. While I do love fun songs with quick rhythms, they are not necessarily what I prefer to run to. Instead it’s the words that have always drawn me in–there has to be a message in there that means something to me and keeps me going.

This is finally a post that requires very few words from me; I will let the songs speak for themselves. It’s quite moving for me to think that some of these songs, along with running, have gotten me through almost every tough thing I’ve faced in my life. It feels like in some ways I could have never gotten through those runs without these songs…and I could have never made it through life without those runs.

These songs are in no particular order, except for the last one, which is my favorite song of all time, and has been since it’s release in 2005. This song has seen me through my entire adult life, and I can’t wait for it take through miles 19 & 20, and perhaps even across the finish line of my very first marathon. Goddamn it’s taken me a long time to get here…






High up above or down below
When you’re too in love to let it go
If you never try you’ll never know
Just what you’re worth

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you



If you enjoyed this piece, I hope you might like to continue with the series… please consider following me through WordPress or through email by using the links on this page. You can also follow me on facebook  ~all support is appreciated. thank you. x

header: adam birkett