As anyone who runs knows, there are so many more incentives to pounding the pavement than the simple fitness and health gains.
Yes, athleticism is a major driving force in most cases, but more often than not, there is also a mental, emotional and even a creative end goal that keeps us clocking up the miles, time and time again.
This Global Running Day, we asked three runners what it is that inspires their sport, and how training has improved their lives for the better:
‘Around a year and a half ago, a very good friend of mine said she did 'ultras', and I was fascinated. I didn't know what they were and she said due to my cycling background I could do one, she was sure. From then on, I guess she's my inspiration. She's a winner and as much as I don't race to win, I love the feeling of pushing myself so hard. The mountains and trails have opened up another me almost, and I just love it up there. There's no other way to say it. I spent this morning out there from 7am in the lake district / 27km of rain, cloud, hills and not another person in sight.
‘My running motivation has been part of me since I’ve been a teenager. I started running competitively then, and haven’t looked back since! I can’t imagine life without running, it makes me feel great and it has given me so many opportunities. I’ve travelled the world running races and I even met my husband at my running club! I’m now running my way around Africa with Africa Marathons and next up is the Cape Town marathon. My long term goal is to run all the world Major marathons, let’s see if I can make it!’
‘I never used to love running. I only started 4 years ago by joining my local parkrun and I was thrilled to just run 3 miles without stopping! But there was a woman there (she was older than me) who I just couldn’t catch! Once we got talking she introduced me to her club, where I met some wonderful friends. I then moved abroad and running was the thing that allowed me to meet even more amazing people. I run for health. I run to release the stresses of the day. But now I mainly run because I absolutely love it. I’m feeling better than ever have before and I strive to be the best runner that I can be’