“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
My grandfather taught me best; a former South Korean general, who even through his eighties, would wake up before sunrise to start his day. A man who would run miles shirtless, exposing scars from deep stab-wounds. Wounds that came from combat in a brutal war decades ago, but daily reminded everybody around him about the depth to which passion drove his life. Passion for his convictions, his family, his fellow soldiers, and his nation.

But passion was not the only thing I learned from my grandfather. I also learned that happiness comes from channeling that passion beyond yourself. My grandfather found peace through his ability to powerfully utilize his blessings to impact others. And his secret to happiness was enabling those whom he loved. His vision of enabling others is consistent — ranging from his leadership during the devastating Korean War, to sending his firstborn son to graduate school halfway across the world; all the way to the smaller, quiet moments he spent teaching me, his grandson, about life.

I have the blessing of being able to choose the races I run. A privilege that came not of my own doing, but by the sacrifice of ancestors who have run difficult races in the past, so that I can chart my own path now. But my grandfather’s scars are a constant reminder not only of his sacrifice, but also of my duty. A duty that his life embodied: ensuring my sweetest victories come from finding opportunities to enable those other than myself.

I aspire to run the sort of race that my grandfather ran.


— Patrick Chun