20 Inspiring Quotes That Perfectly Capture The Spirit Of Being A Runner

StockSnap / Abigail Keenan
StockSnap / Abigail Keenan

Running is many things to many people. Some run to test their physical and mental limits, others run to relieve stress. Still, some run because *gasp* they actually think it’s fun. Many run for all these reasons and more.

In my childhood and youth, running provided me with a reason to compete; in my adulthood, I still compete – indeed with others – but mostly these days, with myself. It’s my wake up regimen, my day organizer, my time to think; it’s something I do for myself and with myself. And for this and many other reasons, men and women across the world, regardless of culture, race, class, background, take to their heels almost every day, and put one foot in front of the other.

Here are 20 quotes that capture the spirit of being a runner, and maybe why you might consider running too:


“I always loved running… it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet, and the courage of your lungs.”

– Jesse Owens


“Running has given me the courage to start, the determination to keep trying, and the childlike spirit to have fun along the way. Run often and run long, but never outrun your joy of running.”

– Julie Isphording


“Any day that I am too busy to run is a day that I am too busy.”

– John Bryant


“Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic.”

– Tim Noakes


“Out on the roads, there is fitness and self-discovery and the persons we were destined to be.”

– George Sheehan


“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.”

– Fred Lebow


“We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves…The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.”

– Roger Bannister


“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.”

– Oprah Winfrey


“A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.”

– Steve Prefontaine


“Running is not just for those who are fit and healthy and strong. Running is a life-breathe for those who struggle with physical and mental illness, self-doubt, loss, anger, regret and other unspeakable pains. Why? Because running has the power to heal, to bring perspective, to instill confidence, to restore sanity and to make us believers again. This is why I run.”

– Susan Husband


“Running has taken me on adventures great and small, at home and around the world. It has provided me with hope and perseverance on days when I had none—and even, once every great while, warmed me with that fleeting ray of sunshine known as glory. Running has taught me that I can do anything, just so long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes that notion is metaphorical and sometimes not. In this way, I have been inspired to attempt things I would have never dreamed possible. And it all started with a single step.”

– Martin Dugard


“What distinguishes those of us at the starting line from those of us on the couch is that we learn through running to take what the days gives us, what our body will allow us, and what our will can tolerate.”

– John Bingham


“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”

– Steve Prefontaine


“I run because long after my footprints fade away, maybe I will have inspired a few to reject the easy path, hit the trails, put one foot in front of the other, and come to the same conclusion I did: I run because it always takes me where I want to go.”

– Dean Karnazes


“Running strips life back to the bare essentials. When we challenge ourselves, it breaks down barriers. It brings us back to our essence and peels away the layers of ego we surround ourselves with. Many a grown man or woman will cry during or when finishing a marathon: long regarded as the ultimate achievement in the running world. Emotions flow freely, the struggle is obvious and most of the competition is with yourself.”

– Grahak Cunningham


“Even when you have gone as far as you can, and everything hurts, and you are staring at the specter of self-doubt, you can find a bit more strength deep inside you, if you look closely enough.”

– Hal Higdon


“Racing is an escape from society. From symbols of status, from self-perceptions. A chance to just be. For everyone to just be, with each other.”

– Erin Beresini


“Life is complicated. Running is simple. Is it any wonder that people like to run?”

– Kevin Nelson


“Running is 80 percent mental.”

– Joan Benoit Samuelson


“I think there’s only one sensible place for a person to be at 5:30 in the morning. That’s in bed. And what am I doing? I’m out running. And I completely hate this.”

– Derek Clayton


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Image Credit: StockSnap / Abigail Keenan

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