Runner Intentionally Loses Race


Oscar Wilde wrote, “One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards”. This is evidenced profoundly in an article published about a year ago on Huffington Post (one of my favorite websites). There is so much good content on the site, no one can take it all in. Even though I missed reading about the incident near the time it happened, the meaningfulness of the event has little to do with the passing of time.

A Spanish runner has shown the world that sometimes, just sometimes, winning isn’t everything.

Last month, Spanish athlete Ivan Fernandez Anaya impressed the world by giving up victory to do the right thing. According to El Pais, it happened as the 24-year-old raced a cross-country event in Burlada, Navarre on Dec. 2.

In second place to Abel Mutai, the Kenyan athlete who won a bronze medal in the London Olympics, Anaya suddenly had a chance to surge ahead. According to El Pais, Mutai mistakenly thought the end of the race came about 10 meters sooner than it did, and stopped running.

Then, he “looked back and saw the people telling him to keep going,” Anaya told CNA. “But since he doesn’t speak Spanish he didn’t realize it.”

So Anaya slowed, guiding Mutai to the actual finish line. And he didn’t think much of it, either. Anaya told El Pais, “I didn’t deserve to win it. I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn’t have closed if he hadn’t made a mistake. As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn’t going to pass him.”

His actions may not have won him the match, or the approval of his coach, but they did get him a few new fans. On Facebook, more than 500 friend requests have come in since the generous act…
The short YouTube video below shows the end of the race:

What I expose myself to and keep myself away from has a profound effect on my thinking and there by the quality of my life is positively affected. By paying less attention to ‘blood and guts’ news, gossip, reality shows, junk news, horrid happenings and generally keeping myself away from that sort of ‘crap’ my level of contentment changed. Instead I haven give more attention to meaningful events like the story above and for that change of habit alone, I became happier.

On the Buddhist “Eightfold Noble Path”, “Right Mindfulness” is considered to be one of eight activities that most affect the quality of one’s life. I am glad to not only know that, but to imperfectly practice it and receive the benefits of that wisdom.

Win without boasting.
Lose without excuse.
Albert Payson Terhune