Editor’s note: Go here to read Part 1 of this story.
If the first set of comments on “Why Do I Run” didn’t inspire you, then maybe you will find some inspiration in the following. The individuals below are from the novice to the advanced. The common thread that ties them together is that they all were inspired to try something to see if they liked it. Once upon a time, there was a person I was training, and we met a couple of times a week after work. We would hit the track and walk and run only for a couple of miles. After about a month, Candy just came out of the blue and said, “I don’t like running.” Well, that caught me by surprise, but I listened. She just said, “I like walking.” So, we did accomplish one thing—we found out she preferred to walk. Can you say the same?
I am not going to give up on you, and no one is trying to get you to the Olympics, but we are trying to get you to where you feel mentally and physically good about yourself. Your goal can be to walk or run or bike two to three times a week.
Sit back and take a few moments to read what the athletes have to say.
I run because as long as you keep consistently at it, you will find success, however you define it. That “success” builds your self-confidence and makes you feel like the possibilities are endless. The best part is that this powerful feeling goes beyond just your running life, but also into your personal and professional life as well!
I run in order to continue feeling good and enjoy life. I have been a runner since 1980. I have only stopped running during my two pregnancies and for a few months during a few injuries. I just feel better when I’m regularly running. I don’t run every day, and I never have. Five days a week, more or less, is my constant routine.
At 53, my blood pressure is in the healthy range, and my body fat is almost as low as it was during my teens. I can still manage to complete 10, over-hand, fully extended pull-ups. I still display six-pack abdominal muscles when I wear my two-piece swimsuits. I can touch my toes and climb multiple flights of stairs with handfuls of luggage at a moment’s notice.
My entertainment is racing—track races, road races, trail races. I just ran my first trail race last November. I got muddy, cold, and almost fell into the water, but I loved every minute of it! I slogged through a rain-soaked half-marathon in March. I had just enough energy to grab a tube of lipgloss that some ladies were handing out a few meters from the finish line. What fun!
Chuck “Marathon Junkie” Engle
You have asked a quintessential question that every runner must answer. My high school coach, Todd Clark, after following my running career from high school, through college, and into my marathon tour of the states, always reminded me that “there are no shortcuts in running and in life” and that I have had to “constantly re-invent myself.”
Life throws unique challenges at each of us and running has given me the physical and mental stamina to go the proverbial distance. I cherish my running now more than ever. In the early years, training and running for a 5K set my mind on creating a schedule. That schedule was like a list of tasks to achieve. This kept me motivated as well as organized. I enjoyed checking things off the training “to-do list.” Once those tasks were achieved, I realized that making lists of things to do made it much simpler for me to achieve things. The running began with simple things like stretch, warm-up, run, cool-down, stretch. Items were added to this list, and soon, sub-lists were added to these main fields. The more the lists grew, the more successful I became in running. I would then analyze my running results and tweak just one or two things on the list to see what impact it would have on my running.
Quickly, I realized that running had taught me how to be organized, and I was able to realize many running goals. Running transformed my life from aimlessly wandering, into a life with direction and purpose. When I faced obstacles or challenges, I started, much like running, with a list. What did I think would help me succeed? Running was as simple as that first list, and I have approached life with the same concept. Start with a simple list and allow it to grow and bend. In this way, I have been able to use running to get through many of the valleys we all face, and it has allowed me to ride the peaks once the lists have been checked off. Much like my running is a continually evolving list, it seems to flow along with my evolving life.
The key for me is that running keeps the blood flowing and continually helps me come up with new lists for the challenges I face and goals I hope to achieve. At first, running was the cornerstone to academics allowing me to study longer and stay focused on many tasks at once. Now, running has become that time to start new lists for the rest of the challenges that life continues to offer each of us.
When I’m out on a run, it’s my chance to fully engage with the beauty of creation that surrounds me, without any of the normal daily distractions getting in my way. That brings me immense joy because I love being out in nature. Running empowers me in mind, body, and spirit, giving me physical strength and mental endurance. It’s a way that I can invest in making myself better so that I show up as the best version of myself in other areas of life.
I run for my physical and mental well-being as well as the peace I find while running.
That’s a million-dollar question to answer. One reason I run, is to use the gift that the good Lord blessed me with. I can inspire runners of all abilities and encourage them because they have what it takes to be an athlete. It gives them confidence that they, too, can run for health, longevity, and happiness.
So often I hear from athletes I coach:
“I’m not that fast.”
“I’m not an athlete.”
My response: If you’re training, then you’re an athlete. As a coach (and athlete), it’s always about being better than you were the day before—regardless of your “speed/pace.” It’s about being comfortable being uncomfortable.
At the end of the day, why do I run? I don’t want to “be OK with being OK.” It’s about learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable when I’m pushing and reaching new goals, or when I’m just enjoying the blessings of my health and the friendships made through the running community better known as my “running family.”
Because I can, and because it’s fun and you meet a lot of very motivated individuals.
I run to see where it will take me and what is possible.
I started running to do the Boston Marathon once and then got hooked on the sense of accomplishment you get every day from doing something hard and that takes discipline.
Running is a part of me now, and I hope to always be a runner and involved with runners.
I run for peace of mind. I love the place running takes my mind.
For me the answer is simple. No matter how fast or slow, how long or short, how easy or difficult a run is, I know that with each run, I am closer to being my best self.
I run because it has become part of who I am. I love continuing to challenge myself, not to mention that I have made some of the best friends in the world.