What Purpose Does Running Serve in Your Life?
If you thought that running was only a way to stay fit and perhaps win a marathon or two, you may be surprised to learn that running adds purpose to life and some of the best runners in the world agree.
Not everyone is brave enough to say, “I have no clue” when they’re asked to describe their purpose in life! Sure, they can explain the reasons work assignments must be done in a certain way to achieve their purpose and it’s likely your personal relationships are purpose-driven, too. After all, why associate with people who can’t help you become the person you are meant to be?
Even introspective runners admit that they find great meaning in the sport that serves them in myriad ways, so if you seek to figure out the purpose running serves your life, relax. These revelations won't be difficult to spot with the help of inspiring people who have discovered that running anchors all aspects of their lives.
Runners with purpose
“If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there,”
wrote “Alice in Wonderland” author Lewis Carroll.
Runners with a purpose always know where they’re going because they trust the friends they run with; they aren’t reticent about investing in GPS gear that keeps them from getting lost and because they understand that a soothing run is the best prescription for life’s stressors. Taking the road less traveled, as recommended by poet Robert Frost, is never frightening for runners who build self-confidence with every footfall.
“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It's to enjoy each step along the way,”
said motivational speaker Wayne Dyer.
Purpose-filled runners are prepared to do what it takes to get to that finish line. Rain; Cramps; Aching feet—Each a symbol of meeting pain head on and continuing on anyway because at the heart of any run is the spirit-lifting journey that lies between the start line and the finish line.
“Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind,”
iconic runner Jackie Joyner-Kersee declared.
If your purpose is to stay active and healthy into your senior years, you couldn’t pick a better sport to take you there. The number of 60+ runners engaging in Singapore marathons grows larger every day as a result of our society’s dedication to health and welfare. Ask senior runners to describe the amount of purpose running adds to their lives and expect to spend lots of time listening to their long lists!
Runner Emil Zatopek reminds us that,
“An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.”
Zatopek came to understand that prizes, trophies, and kudos are wonderful, but the real secret to making a success of one’s life is to live with purpose and apply that philosophy to every aspect of one’s life. That doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the prizes that come your way—just as long as you never lose sight of the purpose that drives you forward.
“Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.”
said runner Dan Gable.
Every runner hits a wall, feels as though she can’t go on or becomes weary trying to surpass a personal best time. These are times when success can feel perpetually elusive. But runners show their true selves and purpose-driven attitudes every time they shake off the past and sign up for another marathon. Purpose and guts have plenty in common!
Olympic long-distance runner Kara Goucher doesn't expect a prize each time she runs. She understands her purpose in the universe—to set an example for other women; particularly those who are told that they can’t get fit, enter competitions and become proficient.
"Running allows me to set my mind free. Nothing seems impossible. Nothing unattainable."
That purpose-filled mindset shows the world her depth of her character.
"It's important to remember that each foot strike carries you forward, not backward,”
wrote John Bingham in a “Runner’s World” article.
“Every time you put on your shoes, you are different than you were the day before.”
Knowing this to be true adds purpose to your run, your day and every moment of your life. After all, isn’t everyone’s purpose to forge ahead to become the best they can be when life's most daunting challenges assault them?
Runner/author Kristin Armstrong shares her post-run feelings:
“I love feeling empty, clean, worn out, and sweat-purged. I love that good ache of the muscles that have done me proud."
Finding self-worth, putting oneself out there and risking all is the hallmark of runners who don’t need praise to feel life’s purpose because they live it every minute. Your muscles and stamina are constant reminders of the efforts you put forth each time you run and nothing clarifies purpose more than a clear mind capable of making healthy decisions.
"If you want to change your body, exercise. If you want to change your life, become a runner."
We wish we could attribute this, but sadly, it’s Anonymous. Nevertheless, it’s the strongest statement we found to wrap up this article on the relationship between running and purpose because it salutes every purposeful runner who wrestles with doubts yet rises like a phoenix to run another day. We bet you would love to know who wrote this quote, too!
What purpose does running serve in your life? We would love to know the answer to this probing question and invite you to share with us.