Why Do You Run?

Why Do You Run?


I was thinking about this question during a run this week.  Why do I run?  I’ve been running seriously for 23 years, but why?  It became clear to me recently, and I came to the conclusion that the reason has actually changed a few times throughout the years.  It’s really for personal reasons why each person dedicates themselves to running.  So why do you run?

When I first started running, it was because my brother ran and was well known in our city for his accomplishments.  I thought that was cool, since running was not really that popular at the time.  Though not serious way back then, I started to play around with the running thing and didn’t like it that much.  It was tough work, not fun, and food and beer were more attractive.  I guess I was a fair-weather runner.

It was when I moved to California that I really fell in love with running.  It became as natural to me as my arms and legs.  I belonged to to the YMCA in Lakewood, California, and ran with the Assistant Director every so often, but most of the time I ran by myself — and I was motivated.  Then my brother challenged me to run a marathon, and I became serious in my training and finished the 1989 Los Angeles Marathon.  I was hooked.  I ran at that time because running was a positive challenge.  Never looked back and have been running seriously ever since. 

Then in 1995, I moved to Denver and immediately connected with a couple of new friends at work who ran about six miles every day at lunch.  At that time, I had run a total of nine marathons.  One day this guy, David, decided to join us for our lunch time runs.  He was new to running, but picked it up rather quickly.  I talked him into running the Los Angeles Marathon with me, since my goal was to have ten marathons under my belt and stop marathoning.  Well, he was hooked, and in New York we made a commitment to run all 50 states.  So at that time, I ran to run a marathon in all 50 states!

During that 8-1/2 year time frame, I moved to Virginia and discovered a running group, Reston Runners.  This catapulted my love for running and my motivation due to the runners that I met.  I ran at that time not only to reach the 50-state goal, but also to become a faster and stronger runner.  I wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon; I reached that goal in 2002 in Chicago!

In 2003, I moved back to Denver with my wife, and for the next three years I ran with David, and also by myself.  With only one more marathon to go to reach the goal of all 50 states, I needed to wait a year to run the final state in Rhode Island (poor planning on my end).  Needing motivation during the wait, I discovered the running group, Runners Edge of the Rockies; it was like giving me a turbo boost.  Because of Runners Edge, the 50-state goal was accomplished, however, I continue to passionately train and run marathons to this day.

Today, I run for the friendships, commodity, competitiveness amongst friends and, most of all, to encourage new runners to strive for their best.  Nothing makes me feel prouder than when runners improve and complete marathons.  It’s magical and running really changes peoples lives for the better.  To be a part of that is why I run! Oh yea, and for the medals!

So why do you run?


I post my blog every Tuesday and Friday.  Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube and feel free to forward this blog post to others in your network.  Also on the homepage of this site, sign up for updates on my upcoming book, “One Foot in Front of the Other“.  You’ll also receive my first chapter FREE!  And lastly, I was featured on a Podcast on March 13, 2012, on The Conversation Hub.  Enjoy!

Sign-up for Jim's Updates

When you sign up, you will gain access to instantly download the first chapter of Jim's upcoming book, plus be on the email list to be notified when the book is available for pre-order!

Categories: Cool Memories, Crazy Observations, Inspirational People & Stories, Inspirational Runs, Running Related, Social Media, Twitter, Why I Run
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , , ,
  • Danielle says:
    June 02, 2012 6:41 AM

    My running is currently on one of those interactive game mats, but I enjoy it because it clears my head. I also like it because it makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something. I am someone who was not physically active growing up, and being active is definitely not my default setting. Seeing my little red character cross the finish line on my TV screen at the 1-mile mark makes me feel like I’ve successfully stepped out of my comfort zone to accomplish something. I would like to keep feeling that feeling of accomplishment, of knowing I am as capable in physical activity as I am in other kinds of activities.

    • Jim Lynch says:
      June 03, 2012 8:35 AM

      Danielle…I cannot wait to hear when you run your first mile outdoors. Your approach is so awesome and i am proud of you for doing what you do. Please keep me updated how you progress either on the mat or outside!

  • simon carey says:
    June 02, 2012 11:54 AM

    why do I run? I started to get fit for taekwondo & I hated it. I hit a wall @ 3 miles & couldn’t break it. Then one day I pushed through to 5 & then 6.2 miles, finally getting up to over 8 but still it wasn’t fun, I was running for the destination, a fitter body, whilst enduring rather than enjoying the journey. I’d stick my ‘phones in & hit the trail, eventually getting back to the car tired but somehow lacking. Then one day it clicked, I had a Eureka moment, I forgot my ipod. Suddenly I realised I was running through beautiful countryside, birds tweeting, trees rustling in the breeze & the sounds of my trainers hitting the different surfaces were better than the music that had been distracting me from the experience. Now I can think, clear my head & enjoy the world I live in whilst still getting a fitter body. A win:win.

    • Jim Lynch says:
      June 03, 2012 8:33 AM

      Hey Simon… Those Eureka moments are wonderful. I hardly ever wear my iPod because I enjoy the sounds of nature and can really get into my head. Its my escape from the day-to-day and it makes a better day! Keep running!

  • Martin Allen says:
    June 02, 2012 12:25 PM

    I run for no other reason than it gives me a buzz. I have no aim to get fitter. I am not at all motivated by times and the medals I haven’t been able to refuse sit at the bottom of the drawer awaiting their fate as more landfill tat. I like racing, but best of all I love parkrun (free 5km timed run all over the country here in the UK, every Saturday at 9:00am). It’s not a race, it’s a timed run. There are no prizes, but great community atmosphere. It’s those kinds of events that really make me proud and happy to run.

    • Jim Lynch says:
      June 03, 2012 8:31 AM

      Martin…In my opinion, the small local runs are the best. Everyone out there having a good time and doing something physical. I agree with you that those events are a reason I am happy to run! Thanks.

  • Ron A. says:
    June 03, 2012 9:13 AM

    I run to stay healthy so that I can keep up with my kids! They have so much energy and I wish I had half of it. Also, my family has a history of high blood pressure and heart disease so I want to keep those in check so I can watch my children’s children grow up!


    • Jim Lynch says:
      June 03, 2012 11:38 AM

      That is an awesome reason Ron! My family also has a huge history of heart disease. I even take a statin for high cholesterol. Running did not help lower it that much and people are surprised about that. However, i’ve had no side effects from the statins and have lowered my cholesterol considerably. Your kids will enjoy your accompishments and appreciate the fact you stay healthy as they grow. -J

  • Rebeca Gonzalez says:
    June 03, 2012 10:13 AM

    I was never any good at sports when I was young and I couldn’t even run for 2-3minutes at a time for most of my life. Last year I decided to start running and I felt happy when I did. I realised I was actually quite good at it and it motivated me to work hard to improve. I completed my first half last september in 2:06 and then 6 months later I did my second half in 1:48. 2 weeks before that last half I did a 10k in 46mins and 10 days after a 17k in 1:22. I am working towards Swissalpine K30 in july, Jungfrau marathon in sept (a year after my first half) and NYC marathon in November. I find it hard to explain to people why I am doing all this, especially since I am not an experienced runner and I don’t even know if I can finish something so hard, but simply put it makes me feel strong and happy and the feeling of accomplishment is one I can’t recreate with anything else.

    • Jim Lynch says:
      June 03, 2012 11:33 AM

      Rebeca…You are the reason I run. In our running group in Denver, I meet so many people that did not or could not run who are doing amazing things! You continue to prove to yourself that you can exceed the goal you establish. Your half-marathon time improvement is incredible and no doubt you will tackle the marathon without a problem. Sure you may have some rough patches during training but it will all pay off when you complete your first marathon. NYC is awesome and it we be even better since you will have completed Jungfru. It’s very hard to explain to people what us runners experience. All you need to say is running is what I love to do. Either they get it or they don’t! May you have much success and let me know how you do! -J

  • Gareth says:
    June 03, 2012 1:26 PM

    I run predominantly on trails. No music, just me and nature. If I want to stop and take a picture I will. I run races to provide focus for my training but Tshirts and medals are nothing compared to what I have the good fortune to carry around in my head.

    • Jim Lynch says:
      June 04, 2012 6:52 AM

      Gareth…I was not much into trail running until last year. Now I love it. And you are correct, my medals actually trigger more incredible moments in my head. Each has its own special memory and meaning. Then of course, all the training runs. I think runners use another 10-15% of their brain! -J

  • Neil P says:
    June 03, 2012 1:50 PM

    I run because I can. Because one day in the future, due to old age or maybe illness, their will be a time that I won’t be able to. Because nothing beats those special few moments on a run when it all feels effortless. When I look down at my legs and feet in awe of what my body is actually doing. Running has given me self respect and has made me a nicer, more tolerant, and hopefully better person.

  • Martin Allen says:
    June 04, 2012 9:50 AM

    It’s funny, because, after re-reading your post and the comments underneath, today I fell in love with running all over again and just had to blog about it myself. Thanks Jim 🙂

    • Jim Lynch says:
      June 04, 2012 9:59 AM

      I read it…Retweeted it! Love it! And also like Stevie Wonder. Awesome!

  • Lala Mama says:
    June 04, 2012 9:52 AM

    I originally took up running to lose weight. Then it was about the social aspect, the friendships from running with others. Now it’s to inspire my family (hubby and daughter) and to feel that wonderful runner’s high.

    On another note…I couldn’t help but notice that all your comments are dated June 6…um, today is only June 4th!

    • Jim Lynch says:
      June 04, 2012 9:59 AM

      Very awesome Lala. The high is a great thing and I hope your family gets inspired to experience it!

      I checked the comments and the date looks correct? Have a good one!

  • Mary says:
    June 04, 2012 5:40 PM

    I guess I would be considered a fair weather runner. I want to be a runner. I can see myself doing it. Heck! I even dream about running! I love how I feel when I am running and feel even better when I finish! My problem is follow through. If I can figure out how to stay focused and really commit, I know I can be the person I dream about!

    • Jim Lynch says:
      June 08, 2012 7:14 AM

      Mary, if you have a local running group you can join, it will do wonders for your focus and commitment. Even finding a few friends you can run with will help. It is sometimes hard to get motivated and stay the course when you run alone. I have that problem myself. Read running blogs like this, running books and magazines. Watch the movie, Spirit of the Marathon which I think is the most motivating movie on running. I watch it the night before every marathon. Good luck and do everything you can to stay the course.

  • Jaqui says:
    June 07, 2012 10:02 PM

    Awesome comments – I am one week away from my first marathon and the body is sore from training but ready to go and these comments have inspired me big time! I run because I want to – that simple!

    • Jim Lynch says:
      June 08, 2012 7:10 AM

      That is awesome Jaqui. You are going to have the experience of your lifetime! Good luck!

  • Krissy says:
    July 11, 2012 5:38 PM

    I run; well because I’m sick of being told that I can’t do something. High school is extremely stressful. With the dram and everything else; it helps me clear my head and face the day with a better outlook on life. I do play volleyball instead of XC during the fall; but I run distance in track.. but it’s not the competition I love the most. I love the feel of running outdoors; the peace and freedom of it all. The pain it gives you; just because you know it’s making you better. The feeling you get after a run; especially when you PR or accomplish something new like running a longer run than ever before; it’s just something you can’t get from anywhere else. It helps get rid of life’s ups and downs from your head and shows you what you’re really made out of. It pushes you past your limits and shows your true character.

  • Dave says:
    August 09, 2013 8:21 AM

    I was thinking this very same question today. Let me explain . . .
    I am 50 years old. To make a long story short, I have been running since I was 25. It started when I ran to my early morning job (in the middle of a very cold winter) because the city bus was always late. Oh, the joy of struggling to jog a single city block. Then two, then three. Yeah, you get the picture.
    Fast forward to now. I used to run every race I could find. Nearly every weekend. From every distance up to two marathons and a couple of triathlons. My last race was about 10 years ago.
    I don’t know why I stopped racing. Perhaps it was because I wasn’t particularly good at it. I put on muscle easily and I’m not really built to be a distance runner. Still, there is nothing like that feeling of a good run. I don’t get that satisfaction from a good weight workout. I still do some fitness jogging, but it’s nothing more than a few miles a week.

    Anyway, I was thinking today about getting back in to running; particularly running marathons. I loved the two marathons I did. Although they were 4 1/2 hours, I loved running in new places with runners from all over the world. Quite the comaraderie. However, whenever I train for anoher one, I just can’t get past the question of, “Why in the world am I subjecting myself to this abuse?” Consequently, I stop, only to get bitten by the bug a few months later. Rinse and repeat.
    This blog has inspired me to tackle the challange again. This time, however, with a new focus and knowing that just getting there is where the fun lies.

    • Jim Lynch says:
      January 27, 2014 3:40 PM

      This is so awesome. First a 4 ½ hour marathon is an incredible time. You have finished two marathons and that is what really matters. I know you posted this last year but I do hope that you did start running and have completed a race or are working towards it. Thanks for your post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *