Once upon a time humankind ran solely to survive—we ran for our lives, chasing down food (or just trying to avoid being eaten ourselves). These days, nearly 30 million Americans willingly choose to do the hard work of running every week. Now that we don't have to run, why do it at all? Four pros recount why we run.
Laura Thweatt | Professional Runner, Marathoner
I love the simplicity of it. You lace up a pair of shoes and go out the door wherever you are, and anyone can do it. At the start of a marathon, you have the elites and then you have a whole crowd of people with different stories about why they’re there, and you’re all out there together. I love that aspect of it.
Running has also given me a confidence and strength that I don’t know if I’d otherwise have, not just as an athlete but in all areas of life. I had an injury last year that required me to take five months off running. It was hard but also beneficial. Injuries and setbacks have allowed me to take a step back and recalibrate, which has made me a stronger runner and stronger in life.
Noah Droddy | Professional Runner, Free Spirit
Running for me has kind of been an ebb and flow. Once I graduated from college—I ran Division III at DePauw University—I thought that would be it. But running was the thing I knew I was best at, and it kept drawing me in. What I love about it is that you get out what you put in. If you’re committed to doing the work, you will see tangible results. Not everything in life is like that.
Running is also such a great way to see your community, get to know your body, and push yourself every day. I love the experiences it leads to and the people you can meet—I met my girlfriend at a race.
Linsey Corbin | Professional Triathlete, Ironman Champion
I grew up in a mountain town, where running was huge. I train for about 25 to 30 hours a week. There’s an adrenaline rush in seeing how close to the edge I can push. Will I blow up? Will I not? In running, you can test your physical, mental, and spiritual limits at the same time.
We are so used to having some stimulus in front of us all the time, with phones and computers. I don’t run with a phone. Sometimes it’s nice to turn your brain off and not think. It usually takes me three hours to run the marathon in an Ironman, and sometimes when I finish it feels like only 20 minutes. That’s when you know you found your flow state.
Jared Ward | Professional Runner, Self-Professed Running Nerd
I have a bit of a nerdy approach to running. My graduate thesis was on pace strategy in the marathon, and my other research has dealt with biomechanics and foot strike. A coach in high school took me from being a mediocre runner to a runner who had a college chance. I fell in love with the training element and getting better, and just the freedom of it.
I loved that I could go out and run and look at my watch to see how fast I went, and then come back the next week and try to do it faster. I’d been used to sports where there is a winner and a loser, but with running I could always win by pushing harder and faster.
I love the feeling of moving fast, and I also love the idea of seeing how long I can push through when the fatigue sets in. I seek freedom in terms of mind over body, and I’m trying to push my body further than it wants. I think we all love freedom, right? It’s just me out there, and it’s only my shoes between me and the pavement.
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