The Case For Running

Can I get something off my chest?


What is more natural than putting two feet in front of you and running? It’s the only thing we, as humans, do (besides walking) that our bodies just DO.

Why does it threaten so many people that we “just run”? Forget that most of us do considerably more than “just running”.

I “just run”…and do yoga.

I “just run”…and spin.

I “just run”…and hit the gym.

Oh yeah, we’re “just runners” alright. None of us do anything else. (snort)

Forget about how much we all love to “just run”. Forget that we have checked a box on our Bucket List Lifetime Goals by “just running” a race of some distance. No, no, please. Keep belittling me if that makes you feel better.

But why do you do it? Because you can’t fathom running a marathon yourself? Because your body hurts when you run? Because you had a bad experience running in gym class? Because you can’t run a mile? Because you want to feel superior to other athletes?

Right. Keep on putting down my sport to validate yours. Whatever.

(Image courtesy of NIKE)

Let’s look at the science, shall we? A 21 year-long study of 1,000 healthy (non-arthritic) runners and non-runners done by Stanford University showed no difference between the knee joints of the two groups. Additionally, the study showed NO DIFFERENCE in the joints of people who ran 200 miles a year and people who ran 2,000 miles a year.


But let’s not fight. It really comes down to this for me: recently, someone asked me what I got out of running. I smiled and nearly cried.

Did you ever see someone so happy to have just finished a run? I was so proud of Rosebud on her 1st run!

You see, aside from remaining at a healthy weight all my life, maintaining excellent resting heart rate and low blood pressure, having stellar bone density, and being generally more fit than the majority of the population, the benefits of running are more unseen than seen.

I have solid self-esteem, which is hard to come by as a woman at any age. As a young person, I avoided many of the pitfalls of body dysmorphic disorder by running and staying active. I was a runner long before it was “cool” to run.

I am proud of the way that my body looks but even more so by the way it performs. 22 years. No (serious or overuse) injuries. 10 marathons. Not one DNF.

It’s something I can always come back to, no matter what. One very major surgery. Minus one major organ. And a marathon 5 months later that I will finish.

Me & Rosebud. In it to win it. Well, maybe not WIN but, you know, finish 🙂

Through the death of friends in high school and family as we got older, I ran through the heartache. Through JB’s year-long deployment to Iraq and the bitter battle with cancer that too many of my family members have fought, I ran to find the strength to carry on. Through my own illness, the nightmare of being sick and disabled and having no control over my body, I ran to feel hope for the future.

Of all the things running has taught me, the most important lesson I have learned that I carry in my heart day after day is this:

If I just keep going, I will get to the finish line eventually.

So, yeah. Running is my sport.

Now go out and run!

11 thoughts on “The Case For Running

  1. I could go on for days about why I run, but mostly it’s about what running has taught me. It has taught me that I’m stronger than I think. It has taught me not to be afraid of hard work. It has taught me how to be comfortably alone with me. It has pretty much saved my life. Now, none of this is to say that somebody else can’t get the same things from other sports, but it certainly doesn’t take away from the fact that these are what I got from mine.
    Thanks for the run love!

  2. Well said!!!!! I have stopped trying to fathom why people can’t understand why I run. I don’t think they ever will understand. The list of why I run is endless, it far outweighs the reasons not to run. I agree, I do think there is a jealousy factor in there as well. They can’t imagine running a mile and would prefer if others were jn the same boat.

    Thanks for another great piece!!

  3. Just started running (jogging, wogging, whatever) because my cousin in Florida stated running with BGR last year, dropped 70 pounds and is running all over Miami-on the beach, in the streets, wherever!!! Weight loss was incentive enough for me to give it a try. Then I read, probably here, that running DOES NOT damage the knees as I had always heard. Another incentive. Started the C25K (couch to 5K) 9 week training. When I finish, I will be able to run a 5k. More incentive since I NEVER WANTED TO RUN ANYWHERE. Working at my own pace and finding that it’s not bad at all. Considering my first 5k in late October this year. ON A MISSION.

      • It’s the Atlantic City Boardwalk 5k/10k, marathon and half. (Not the official name.) All sorts of things going on but I’m doing the 5k. Just registered officially yesterday. Found it on Got to start somewhere. Going into full training mode beginning this Sunday. Already up to week 6, day 2 of c25k which was 2-10 minutes runs with a 5 min walk in between. Might repeat this session a couple of times. Also may get some running buddies to run with starting this weekend.

  4. Wow, this is such an awesome and powerful post! Since I’ve made running a major part of my fitness regimen, I’ve stopped looking at exercise as a method of burning calories and just something I love that makes me feel great. You’ve summed up so many of the reasons running is wonderful — the confidence, the goals, the sense of achievement.

  5. This such an awesome post Abby. I totally don’t get it – the bullying and putting down that others do versus supporting and lifting up. I mean, with staying active and staying fit, you find what you love and what works for you which may not work for me but who cares. We’re all being active and that’s what’s important.

    I’ve learned so much about myself through running and now that I can’t do it (yet), I appreciate it all the more. I couldn’t have summed up all the benefits better than you did.

  6. Love this post. I feel like I sometimes explain and defend being a runner more moments than I actually run. I am in rehearsals for a new show and training for the NYC Marathon, and you would think that I was joining a cult everytime I laced up my sneakers at the end of rehearsals and head out. There really is nothing like it. Thanks for the post!

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