4 Professional Runners Answer: “Why do you love running?”

Running captured my heart in 1998 – and I’ve been running nearly every day since I tied my first pair of running shoes.

Throwback to Lexington High School cross country!! #tbt #xc

A photo posted by Jason Fitzgerald (@jasonfitz1) on

The comaraderie of a team made grueling workouts and high mileage tolerable.

The accountability of a coach allowed me to push harder than I could have alone.

The objectivity of racing taught me more about myself than any other sport.

And this incredible sport introduced me to my wife, best friends, and has given me a career that lets me help tens of thousands of runners just like you accomplish their biggest goals.

That’s what Strength Running is all about: helping you achieve faster race times with fewer injuries and more enjoyment.

This is why I focus so much on injury preventionsmart nutrition, and getting support when you need it. It’s why I challenge you to train strategically – rather than exercise mindlessly.

There are, of course, other reasons why we love running. When I asked you about those reasons, this is what you told me:

“I feel such a sense of freedom and happiness. Not looking or acting my age is a definite bonus!” – Marilyn

“The burn in your muscles after pushing yourself to the limit. Nothing like it.” – Barry

“Just the knowledge that I could go run 10 miles any old time I wanted.” – Cabe

“Not looking my age.” – Colleen

“Having the time to myself; feeling the air and observing the surroundings” – Cristina

“The feeling of accomplishment when I cross the finish line!” – Marilyn

Many of the reasons why the SR community loves running can be seen in the free digital book 50 Quotes to Inspire You to Run Down Your Dreams (along with 50 drool-worthy photos from around the world).

But today, I want to expand our understanding of running by asking professional runners why they love running.

Sure, they get paid to run. But is that why they love it? Let’s find out.

Max King: “Adventure, speed, and simplicity at its finest”

Max King

Max King is the Renaissance Man of professional runners. Just look at a brief glimpse of his resume:

  • 6th place, 2012 Olympic Trials 3,000m Steeplechase
  • 1st place, 2011 & 2012 USATF Trail Running Championships
  • 4th place, 2014 Western States 100 mile endurance run
  • 1st place, 2012 XTerra Trail Running National & World Championship
  • 1st place, 2011 IAAF World Mountain Running Championship
  • 1st place, 2014 Warrior Dash World Championship (don’t miss our interview!)

So, why does Max King love running? Here’s his answer:

I love a lot of things about running, that’s why I tend to do a lot of it and not a lot of anything else. It’s adventure, it’s speed, it’s simplicity at it’s finest.It’s me against myself, me against my competitors and me against the mountains but at the same time it’s being at one with all of those elements.

It’s what we used to use for transportation, it’s what takes me to see the world, and what we’ll be using long after fossil fuels run out.

The foot falls on dirt have occurred millions of times yet every time is great and sometimes painful but continues to draw me out the door every day.

Well put Max!

David Roche: Simplicity, Purpose, Structure

David Roche Mountain Runner

David Roche is an animal on the trails. A member of Nike Trail Elite, David is a two-time USATF trail running national champion. Oh, and he’s a full-time attorney on top of being a professional runner.

In all of his free time, David writes a monthly column for Trail Runner Magazine and was named the 2014 US Sub-Ultra Trail Runner of the Year.

Let’s find out why he loves running:

I love running because it’s simple. Put on shoes and go, almost every morning.

While running is a simple act, it introduces so many complex things into my life. The most obvious are purpose and structure–everything from bedtime to meal-time revolves around an external clock dictated by running.

Also obvious, but perhaps less existential, is that it burns calories. If you love to eat, running is the best!

Those are all internal reasons; however, the external reasons are the most meaningful to me. Running connects us to the community and to nature. Life without cool people and big trees is far less rich.

And the final reason is the biggest, most enduring connection of all. Running connects us to death. If you run seriously, you toe the line of your own mortality, seen daily in physical progress followed by both gradual and sudden failures, some nearly imperceptible and some completely catastrophic.

When you become intimately acquainted with the nuances of your body’s failure, you also become acquainted with the thin line that separates being full of life with being dust. Understanding mortality is the key to truly, unflinchingly loving life.

In that way, the simple failure inherent in running is the key to enlightenment. WOOT!

Can we get a big cheer for this quote?! “Life without cool people and big trees is far less rich.” Click here to tweet it!

Andy Wacker: “I love running because of cooperation”

Andy Wacker Mountain Running

Andy Wacker is one of the best trail and mountain runners in the world. A few of his noteworthy accomplishments:

  • 2nd place, 2015 World Mountain Running Long Distance Championships
  • Olympic Marathon Trails qualifier (multiple times)
  • 1st place, 2015 USATF Trail 50k National Championships
  • 1st place, 2014 and 2015 Mt. Evans Ascent
  • 1st place, 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Half Marathon
  • 1st place, 2014 USATF Colorado 10k Championships
  • 1st place, 2013 USATF Colorado 5-mile Championships

I interviewed Andy after he placed 2nd at the 2015 USATF Mountain Running Championships and his enthusiasm and love for running was clear to me. The podium finishes are great, but why does Andy really love running?

Here’s what he told me:

What I love about running is a difficult question for me to answer. Not because I don’t love running, but because running is such an integral part of my life. It’s kind of like asking what is your favorite thing about being able to breathe. We just like breathing!I could say running is a great way to test my personal limits, finding ways to challenge myself. It could be my love of competition. How it’s thrilling to burn down the track in an all out sprint, or to slowly break my adversaries over long miles in a road race.

And who doesn’t like how running makes us free? Running on mountain single track without a care in the world. It doesn’t matter what pace you’re running. It’s just you, a pair of worn-out and potentially wet from that last creek crossing, running shoes and nature.

But, instead, I’m going to talk about the American White Pelican.

For the summer months, the American White Pelican migrates north from the costal beaches of Mexico, Florida and California to Colorado. Yes, fish-scooping pelicans love Colorado! These large birds, with nine-foot wingspans, fly in formation over the prairie enjoying the mountain sunshine and perhaps a cutthroat trout. White pelicans, in particular, work together. They have to cooperate to migrate, in V-formation, thousands of miles. These pelicans are also know to work together to herd fish.  In other words, White Pelicans rock!

So, back to the subject, I love running because of cooperation. Running is a small world, where everyone is pretty awesome. Like the White Pelican, or the peloton in the Tour de France, runners work together to squeeze the best performances out of each other. And, yes, during a race there can be driving hatred fueled by fiery competition. But, after the race, most runners are stand-up guys who will share a cool down jog, a laugh, and a beer with you.

So grab a friend, and soar in the sunshine over the Colorado prairies, migrate to Mexico in the winter and just enjoy life, like our friend, the American White Pelican.

Yes, everyone in the running world is pretty awesome!

Amelia Boone: “It’s my sanity”

Amelia Boone

Amelia Boone is a force of nature. She’s not only a full-time attorney for Apple, but the most dominant female obstacle course athlete in history.

Moreover, she usually beats 99% of men in every race she enters. Her performances include:

  • 30+ victories (and 50+ podium finishes)
  • 2013 Spartan Race World Champion
  • 2012 Spartan Race World Championship 2nd place overall (only 8 minutes behind the male winner)
  • 2012, 2014, and 2015 World’s Toughest Mudder Champion
  • 3x finisher of the Death Race

So why does an athlete who admits she’s “really good at suffering” love running?

For me, running is a form of moving meditation – it’s my time during each day to really get away from it all and be with my thoughts.There’s nothing I love more than climbing a mountain by headlamp pre-dawn and watching the sunrise from a trail or mountain top. Running is the one activity that’s physically exhausting but mentally and emotionally recharging. Every run presents a new challenge, a new opportunity to push myself, and a new time to reflect on everything else going on.

In my life, there’s nothing else quite like it. Simply put, it’s my sanity.

Well put! If you’d like to keep up with Amelia’s adventures, follow her on Instagram.

Why do YOU love running?

Love Running

Many of us love running for different reasons. Maybe you love the feeling of running up a single-track trail on the side of a mountain. Or, you enjoy the active lifestyle running provides.

Or maybe you love its weight loss benefits or your cherished “me time.”

No matter why you love running, there will always be a new trail to explore, another race to enter, or simply a new morning to enjoy a solo run around your neighborhood.

I’d love to hear why YOU love running, too. Leave your reason in the comments below!

If you need extra motivation, download our free book 50 Quotes to Inspire You to Run Down Your Dreams!

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Comments

  1. Travis B. says:

    Awesome interviews, Jason! running is such an amazing thing

  2. karissa kornegay says:

    I don’t know if I’m to the point where I LOVE running. But each time I go out, I push myself a little more and a little more. I may not be enjoying it at the time, but I always come back with some small victory to tell my husband about! “Remember that hill that I ran half-way last week? Well I ran the WHOLE way today! My legs were burning, but I just kept pushing and pushing and I finally felt the payment level out and knew I was at the top!” It’s the little daily victories that I experience while running that also translate into my daily life at home and work. Whenever a new challenge presents itself and i’m feeling a lag in my confidence, I remember the victories I can achieve when I make up my mind to push through my discomfort and insecurity– there’s always more left in the tank than you think!

  3. I love the rhythm of running and the feeling I sometimes get that I’m gliding effortlessly through the air. It’s almost like flying. But the thing I love best is that running has taught me that I can do things I never thought I could. When I started, I could hardly run for one minute. Now, my first marathon is a week and a half away, and I’m considering what my next goal will be. It’s going to be big, whatever it is, because running has showed me that while my mind may try to box me in, my legs break me out into an infinite space I can’t wait to explore.

  4. Rodney Small says:

    I love the addiction of running. It is a healthy addiction that makes me feel strong and has given me confidence in myself. It has challenged me to do things I never thought I was capable of doing, like running a marathon, twice. It has opened up to me a new group of like-minded friends that I love running and socializing with on a regular bases. I love the competition of running different races in my area and seeing improvements in my times. Yes, running is my drug and I can’t imagine life without it.

  5. Louisa McGinn says:

    I love running because it makes me feel alive! I spend my working day sitting at a desk. Running connects me with my body – the feeling I have from being tired, hungry, or exhilarated from running is like nothing else.

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