Why Run?

Posted on January 20, 2012. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , |

It’s January, the first month of the year, the month when we post our resolutions smack dab on the front of the refrigerator, clear and bold and brazen for everyone to see.  We resolve to eat right, exercise more, get our finances in order, spend more time with the people we love.  We resolve to be kinder, gentler, more patient.  And for some of us, the very first goal is one we really don’t need to post on our list because we’d do it anyway.

We resolve to run.

In 1990, there were approximately 4.8 million runners in the US; by 2010, there were almost 13 million.  In just one short decade the number of runners nearly tripled.   And that number accounts only for road race finishers, or those people who finished a 5K, 10K, half marathon, or marathon.  It does not include your Average Joe or Joan who runs the neighborhood streets before dawn.

Running as a sport has exploded.  Why do we run?  According to Running USA’s latest survey (July 2011), most people run to stay in shape, stay healthy, have fun, and relieve stress.  Additionally, many people take up running as a means of taking on a new challenge and achieving a new goal.  Sometimes the goal is health-related, often it is not.

Although most people surveyed claim that the motivating factor to continue running is to stay in shape, just over 40% claim that they are not happy with the shape they are currently in.  So they keep running, determined to attain the level of health they desire.

Running, however, does much more than get our bodies in shape.  It gets our souls in shape as well.  What I mean by soul is simply this:  the soul is the essence of our being.  It is who we are.  There is something about running that allows us to tap into our essential humanity. We find our center, our core, that thing inside that makes us unique and connects us to the other souls out there too.

When we run we get to find out what we are made of.  Can we make it up that hill? Can we reach the end of the road? Can we even begin?  Often, what we are made of surprises us.  We find that we have more power than we thought.  We are strong, responsible, intentional.  And the more we run, the farther we go, we also find that running opens us up. What we often find through this openness is optimism, gratitude, joy.

For most of us, running is not an end in itself. It is the means.  It is the tool that helps to shape us. Like a carpenter’s adze, running makes intricate carvings in our character, refining us with each mile or minute we run.  Even though it’s January, the first month of the year, we can resolve to run—but running itself can make us resolved.

Why do you run?

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5 Responses to “Why Run?”

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Awesome. Glad to see you are up and running on the internetz.

Here’s to the runners!!!

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What a ebautiful way to describe running! I completely agree; running teaches you so much more about yourself than you ever thought possible. I just finished my first 50 miler and I had no idea whether I really possessed the drive to do it. Now I know and it’s priceless.
Sara from http://www.losingtogether.com

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How true is every word you wrote in this post! Cheers to a better us!

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That is so true! Whenever I explain that to fellow runners, they nod knowingly. I just can’t seem to get it across to non-runners though!
Thanks for sharing!

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Love this! A year ago I hated running and now it is all I talk about! It has truly become a part of who I am. And I am constantly amazed at not only my strength and determination, but the strength and determination of the other tens of thousands of people running right next to me.

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