Runners approach the 24 mile marker of the 2018 Boston Marathon in heavy rain on April 16, 2018 in Brookline, Massachusetts. Desiree Linden became the first American woman to win since 1985 with an unofficial time of 2:39:54. Yuki Kawauchi of Japan won the men's race in 2:10:46

Runners approach the 24 mile marker of the 2018 Boston Marathon in heavy rain on April 16, 2018 in Brookline, Massachusetts. Desiree Linden became the first American woman to win since 1985 with an unofficial time of 2:39:54. Yuki Kawauchi of Japan won the men's race in 2:10:46

“I don’t run,” a listener texted us when we announced this show. “The reason I don’t is that I’ve never seen anyone smiling while running. They all appear miserable.”

That person is probably not one of the 60 million Americans who said they participated in running, jogging and trail running in 2017.

Close to 80 percent of American runners say they run to stay healthy or in shape. And many people genuinely enjoy it. And over 30,000 running events take place every year.

Plus, there are a ton of added health benefits. A new study says that even just 30 minutes on a treadmill can correlate to an increase in “positive well-being and vigor” for those with major depressive and mood disorders.

One of those runners is the novelist Haruki Murakami. He wrote about his hobby in The New Yorker:

Once I had decided to become a professional writer, another problem arose: the question of how to keep physically fit. Running the club had required constant physical labor, but once I was sitting at a desk writing all day I started putting on the pounds. I was also smoking too much—sixty cigarettes a day. My fingers were yellow, and my body reeked of smoke. This couldn’t be good for me, I decided. If I wanted to have a long life as a novelist, I needed to find a way to stay in shape.

As a form of exercise, running has a lot of advantages. First of all, you don’t need someone to help you with it; nor do you need any special equipment. You don’t have to go to any particular place to do it. As long as you have a pair of running shoes and a good road you can run to your heart’s content.

However, personal safety while running outside has become more of an issue, due to two cases that received national attention.

A woman in Washington, D.C.’s Logan Circle and University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbits were both running alone when they were attacked and killed.

Why do people run? What precautions do runners take to make themselves feel comfortable?

Produced by Amanda Williams. Text by Gabrielle Healy.

Guests

  • Peter Sagal Host, "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me" from NPR and WBEZ. Author of "The Incomplete Book of Running." @petersagal
  • Talya Minsberg Senior Editor of Special Projects at the New York Times. @tminsberg
  • Ian Graber-Stiehl Freelance writer. @StiehlPointPen

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