I have the fortune of saying that my running friends are remarkable examples of athleticism. Their determination to be better than the day before is infectiously admirable. When I started drafting my article on why I run, I decided to ask my friends the same thing. I was blown away. Their willingness to be honest and sincere inspires me to keep pushing forward. It makes me want to train harder, bring down my time and cross every finish line without regrets. I asked, “Why do you run?” and here’s what they had to say.

Running to me isn’t much about exercise and it isn’t much about training to hit a particular time either. One thing it can be about is that moment where you enter into the zone. Whether you’re in a track race or out in the landscape somewhere, it brings that sublime moment of self-awareness, when your legs feel like they’ve just been supercharged with energy and you can’t wait to see how far they’ll carry you. It’s discovery. Running gives me the tempo for introspection and a space for appreciating the world that surrounds me, but it’s also an experience to be shared. To me, that’s awesome.” -Nick I.

After a race or a long run, I feel as if I can accomplish anything. It really amazes me what my body can do. I feel strong like I’m wonder woman and I just saved the entire city from evil. I love that feeling. I take that exact energy and use it to accomplish my goals.” -Kimberley M.

I’m sure that subconsciously, there are many reasons why I run. But on the surface, I can say that it’s the process of conquering a multitude of battles with myself: tendencies to make excuses and to doubt my reasons, or to think I am being selfish. I appreciate having goals in this process and try to attach other personal goals with each race. During the race, I am overcoming weaknesses and having a dialogue with myself: “Don’t slow down,” “Don’t make excuses,” “Look around and see the beauty,” “Listen to the great music in my headphones,” “Push a little more for a better time,” “Don’t hurt yourself.” But most simply – I run for my will. To get to the start line and to get to the finish line.” -Bethany W.

I run to think about what’s going on in my life. I run so that I can take in the scenery around me. I used to run because it was fun to do with friends. I also run because I love racing.” -James S.

I run because I love it. It allows me to push myself beyond what I thought I could do, both physically and mentally. Every time I get up and go, even if it is a bad day, it is a reminder that I can and will continue moving forward. When I feel tired, when life is challenging, when I don’t know what to do, when life is good…I can run. The truth is, I can’t stop running.” -Anri T.

To be better than I was yesterday.” -Nick S.

I have a hard time answering that question. Ask me tomorrow and I might say something completely different. I’ve been running since the 4th grade, and I’m 34 now, I’m not sure I know anything else at this point. In recent years, I’ve had several injury breaks of long lengths from running and it’s really changed my mindset. For years I ran because I was good at it, I like competing and I like performing well, but as I’ve gotten past those competitive years, I find that I have a different connection to running, as a part of my day instead of as a sport. I feel right when I run, I feel like my day has been more productive. I really enjoy the social aspects of running as well, I prefer running with people over solo runs, and I like knowing I’m fit enough to meet old friends for a run as a way to catch up. Bottom line is I just don’t feel like myself when running isn’t a part of my routine. It took a year of not having it to really figure that out.” -Patrick B.

I run to stay fit, relieve stress, push and challenge myself and come November 2017, to be able to say that I am a TCS NYC Marathon finisher!” -Raul H.

Running is my passion. Running is my drug. It takes away my pain, it takes away my stress, it takes away my anxiety. Running helps me live in the moment and forget everything else going on. It’s the greatest feeling in the world.” -Laura S.

I run to untangle the webs of stress and negativity in my head. Running let’s me escape my downs, and is a great way to really sink into my music playlist. Plus I would’ve been dawdling away on Reddit anyhow, so it makes me feel like I’ve at least done something productive with my free time.” -Caroline C.

I run because being on a team environment was inspiring. There was no greater feeling than finishing a long run/race and taking the best nap ever. Lastly, I run because I love to eat!” -Starz

On a personal level, I started running because of my health – to reduce my hereditary high cholesterol level and low blood sugar level. By running, I am able to improve my overall health and keeps me active and energetic. On top of that, I do enjoy running with friends whether it is just hitting the gym or running in events as I get to expand my network of friends and meet new people from all walks of life. I guess most importantly is to do what makes you happy and by running, it plays a pivotal role in shaping who I am today, it gives me an energy boost and always on tip top condition!” -Nicole L.

I hope that for as long as I continue to run, I’ll have a constant stream of inspiration like these athletes in my life. It can get lonely out there, especially on those days when you feel like the sacrifice is big. This is a reminder, however, that the rewards are worthwhile and the fulfillment that we gain will be with us in the long run (no pun intended). Time to lace up and get out there.

Cheers,

Riri