Celebrating Global Running Day – we asked our readers what running means to them

Global running day - a day that celebrates the universal power of putting one foot in front of the other. To celebrate, we asked our Runner’s World readers what running means to them, and more importantly, what inspired them to start running.

Here’s what they said:

Barbara Deane: “My hands were sore from clapping, so I decided to join the runners.

Related: Want to start running? Take a look at our 4-week pre training plan for new runners

Sarah Hutchins: “I wanted to get fitter and lose some weight. My first run was for two minutes and it was hard! Two months in and a stone lost so far and I can now run 5K three times a week.”

Kevin Darragh: “My weight. I was 15 stone and walking up the stairs was a struggle. A relative of mine made a negative comment about my size one day and the next day I had bought a pair of running shoes and joined a local couch to 5K group. I’m now nine stone after 2.5 years of running.”

Heather Crowson: "After losing my son, I started to findraise in his memory. Now I love running. It saved me." 

Angela Browne: “I started running for my dreadful mental health. I’m not over exaggerating when I say running saved my life.”

Related: 6 Runner's World readers on how running helped their mental health

Scarlett: “I drunkenly signed up to do a 10K two years ago. Luckily, I very quickly fell in love with running and I’m now training for my first marathon.”

Em: “My dad when I was about 12 years old. I hated it. About ten years later I gave it another go, also running with him from time to time. This was about eight years ago. Since then I completed several 5 and 10K races as well as some 10 milers and four half-marathons. The last of those I completed together with my dad a month ago, so we can now say we ran a marathon together. He ran the first half and I ran the second half as a relay. Go dad – he turns 65 this year.”

Clare: “I started running after my cousin ran a half-marathon with terminal cancer – five months before he passed away. I wanted to give something back and trained for a Race for Life to raise money for Cancer Research. Once I’d run that first race, there was no stopping me!”

Dan: “I started out as a bet in 2014 – two friends entered Birmingham half marathon and had a few weeks training on me. They said I should get involved with £100 to charity for the winner. I stuck with the training, they didn’t and I ended up beating both of them and haven’t looked back since.”

Related: New study finds stopping exercise can increase the risk of depression in just two days

Susan Lee: “My brother was diagnosed with terminal cancer so I wanted to raise money in his honour for cancer research. I trained myself using a couch to 5K app and ran my first 5K whilst my brother was still with us. Sadly, he passed away soon after and I went on to run 10K and two half marathons for Macmillian. I’ve now raised £2000 in total.”

Chrissy: “I started running to help my anxiety. It was hard at first being outside alone running where people could see me, but after time I began to grow in confidence and now I couldn’t live without it. I still have bad days, but it’s nothing a run won’t help with.”

Louise Montague: “A friend telling me it would help my anxiety and depression and it did! He also told me to ignore being several stone overweight as that put me off, thinking you cannot run if you are overweight. You can. Do it sensibly with a couch to 5K programme.”

Rache Stone: “My Dad came home from the London Marathon in 1986 wearing a silver cape across his shoulders and a medal around his neck looking like a superhero. I wanted to follow in his footsteps and I owe every single step of every single run to his inspiration. We ran many races together until his knee operation, so now he comes to watch me and support. I always wonder if I would have found running without him as a role model.”

Patricia Hodge: “I had a miscarriage and I was running to cope. I was running a lot and decided to enter the Coventry half back in 2008 – I found the race very emotional from the start to the end. I found out I was pregnant again in the two weeks leading up to the event – I did it in less than two hours and had a healthy baby in 2009.”

Lorraine Lemmon: “I wanted a medal (and a challenge) so I entered the 1993 Glasgow half marathon, that was me hooked.”

Related: 43 signs you love running a bit too much 

Tom Beck: “I started running because I like eating pizza.”

Lee: “My family keep me running – if it wasn’t for them cheering me on, I wouldn’t be here now.”

Gail Tyson: “Going to my local parkrun for the first time motivated me to keep running.”

Related: 16 things that will probably happen to your body when you start running

Karl: “What made me start running? A particularly bad hangover on New Year’s Day 2012.”

Peter: “My running did not come about by a challenge from a friend, or a medal…a little voice in my head said to me, when I was 17-years-old to run! I ran around my neighbourhood that first time.”

Lisa Dawn: “I was 18 and about to join the RAF to train to be a nurse and I needed to pass the medical. I didn’t end up joining, but I’m now 37 and still running!”

Mat Twells: “The challenge to try and conquer something that, as an asthmatic, had defeated me my whole life.”