50 Fascinating Facts About the Joys (and Weirdness) of Running
Thought you knew all there was to know about the sport that makes your heart beat faster? You will re-think that conclusion after reading our mind-boggling list of running facts. Some of them are truly unbelievable!
The art and science of running extends beyond your toes. Curious runners study their craft, practice endlessly and wax poetic about details associated with the runs, events, gear and more.
Having searched far and wide to find revelatory facts aimed at delighting your mind, we hereby invite you to go forth and enjoy the fruits of our labor.
- Running increases testosterone levels in men by 15-percent, so the male sex drive gets a boost.
- Frenchman Serge Girard once ran a total of 27,011km within a single year.
- Twenty-percent of Earth's inhabitants don't have a "marathon gene," say researchers at Loughborough University. They can train all they like, but it won't help them win.
- It's safer to run in cold weather over hot due to the dehydration factor.
- Wear red running outfits if you want to win, say University of Durham researchers.
- Don't drink water an hour before running! Drink 8 oz. 5 minutes before you run and you could avoid a loo stop.
- Every year, 1 billion pairs of running shoes are sold in the world. How many did you buy last year?
- Don't run in silence. Listening to your playlist can boost your running performance by up to 15-percent.
- Budhia Singh started training at age 3 and finished 48 marathons before turning 5.
- Buy cheaper shoes (under US$40) to experience half as many injuries as you might wearing kicks that cost over US$95, say University of Bern scientists.
- Runners wearing knee-length compression socks feel 43-percent less sore at race end than those who don't wear them.
- You can run off a half-block of yummy Lindt Dark Chocolate candy in less than 23 minutes. Then you can reward yourself with another.
- On average, competitive runners take between 185 and 200 steps every minute.
- Live longer by running 20 miles or less weekly, say researchers at the University of South Carolina.
- You use 200 muscles every time you take a step.
- A Japanese athlete vanished while running in the 1912 Olympics. He remained a missing person for the next 50 years.
- Ladies' boobs run too. University of Portsmouth scientists say they don't just bounce up and down; they also move from side to side in a crazy figure-8 pattern.
- On average, say Spanish researchers, women run their fastest marathon at age 29 while dudes do it at age 27.
- Although the Boston Marathon started in 1897, women couldn't compete until 1972.
- Food scientists at St. Louis University proved athletes can run faster by eating baked beetroot before they race.
- Stretching before running isn't as effective as doing high knees or heel flicks to prepare muscles for exercise.
- Male runners are more likely to produce daughters than men who don't run at all.
- You can metaphorically circle the planet by running 12 miles daily for 2,075 days.
- If you run, rather than walk, your chances of getting arthritis may be cut in half.
- Four-time Boston Marathon winner Bill Rodgers' secret to success is eating mayonnaise-covered pizza on race day.
- On average, your feet produce 1-pint of sweat daily. Reason enough to buy more socks.
- At UK steeplechase races, runners sprint between church spires while overcoming 2 obstacle-filled miles.
- Japan's Hidekichi Miyazaki celebrated his 105th birthday by finishing a 100m race.
- Once upon a time, athletes believed that the word Adidas was an acronym for "All Day I Dream About Sex."
- In order to learn more about how humans run, researchers study dead people, too.
- When her luggage got lost enroute to the 2003 World Mountain Running Championships, New Zealand's Melissa Moon borrowed shoes to compete and won her elite category.
- Skip breakfast at Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman's home! He used his waffle iron to make his first outsoles.
- Love your shoes? It's normal. An NYU Tisch Institute of Sports professor says that "human brains are wired to make an emotional connection with our running shoes." Just don't try to marry yours.
- Some runners are more excited about shoes than sex, says Marathoner Jason Fitzgerald. He calls these reactions "Shoegasms."
- The oldest U.S. indoor marathon (the Zoom!Ya!Ya!), requires contestants to run 26.2 miles on a track while changing directions every 30 minutes.
- A "Runner's World" survey says competitors agree that blister-covered feet are more distressing than GI issues.
- Runners participating in ancient Greek Olympiads were required to run naked. Talk about feeling liberated!
- Even Usain Bolt can't beat your cat since felines reach speeds of up to 30mph.
- A 2016 Philly.com survey about "What annoys runners most on race day?" reports these top picks: 1) Selfie taking, 2) Obstructive walkers, 3) Phones used as boomboxes and 4) Runners in the wrong corral.
- The reason medical science banned women from marathons before 1980? It was believed that uteruses would be torn by the exertion!
- France's annual 100m Marathon Medoc is one weird experience. Runners sip wine at the start line, then navigate 43 refreshment and food stalls to reach the finish line.
- Dietician Ruth McKean says 7-percent of elite distance runners arrive at the finish line dehydrated.
- Haitian runner Dieudonne Lamothe was ordered by his country's dictator to finish his race or he would be killed.
- The most dangerous point for marathoners? The last 3 miles, where the most cardiac arrests occur.
- Runner John Dunbar lost his Ironman triathlon lead after running out of water, switching to beer and finishing his race by charging into parked cars instead of the finish line.
- At the annual Wales "runners against horses" marathon, humans only won twice in 10 years.
- According to promising U.S. National Institutes of Health experiments, running has the potential to help kids deal more effectively with being bullied.
- Every brain has FNDC5 molecules that spring into action during endurance running, at which point memory is sharper and it's easier to learn difficult subjects.
- Feeling lethargic at work? A short run can make you 23-percent more productive, says the "International Journal of Workplace Health Management."
- Every run boosts midbrain function, the area controlling your hearing and vision. Up your running game and you might not need those glasses after all!
Got a nugget of knowledge we can add to our list? Don't keep it to yourself!
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