“Ask any runner why he runs, and he will probably look at you with a wry smile and say, “I don’t know.” But something keeps us going.” — Adharanand Finn, Running with the Kenyans
Running is something different to everyone. One great thing we share as runners is the challenge of describing how and why we find joy in running. Early mornings, sore legs, early bed times on Friday nights, and lost toenails, windburn, dehydration, and a dozen other pains all endured for a sport we can’t quite explain our love for.
Of course, as a running company, this motivation interests us deeply. So for the second time in as many years, we surveyed runners, asking questions not just why you run, but what you love about running and what got you started in the first place.
Whether in the US or Kenya, three themes stood out:
Let’s take a look at what you said.
There’s little better in life than running outside with friends and family.
Physical health, particularly weight, was widely cited as motivation to start running. But when talking about why we love running, many runners cited the mental health benefits and feeling invigorated.
What you said:
“The way it makes me feel mentally.”
“It’s therapeutic, and when you stick to it your fitness sky rockets in a very short period of time”
“The mental challenge it takes to keep going.”
“To stay healthy and energized :-)”
Humans are social animals. So while there’s pleasure in the long silent meditative run, many of us find joy in running with our friends, or making new friends while we run. We challenge, inspire, and lift each other up. As we face down the miles together, the bonds we form become the motivation to keep running more.
In your own words:
“Running with friends and solving all the worlds problems on the run”
“Seeing a new city and meeting new friends”
“Hanging out with friends and enjoying nature”
There was a time when there was no such thing as ‘inside’ or ‘outside’. Incidentally, this was the same time as a species when there was no such thing as ‘being a runner’, every one of our ancestors ran to survive and thrive. Now, an hour run might be the majority of time we spend outside on a given day. We treasure that time.
We love running because we love:
“Getting outside in nature”
“Waking up to the sound of waves crashing on the beach outside my window every morning.”
“Getting outside and seeing the world and the beauty of nature.”
Hopefully next time someone asks you why you run, you’ll tell them about the time outside with friends and the health benefits. Hopefully, we can convince a few more people to join us out on runs soon.