Why run?


Laura Heckenlaible

Senior captains of the LHS cross country team Hannah Dumansky and Kadin Groen smiling with their Coach, Luke Jelen.

Laura Heckenlaible, Staff Writer

Running; pure bliss or absolute torture just depends on who you ask. The first question I get asked when I tell people I run is always “Why?” Such a simple question yet every time, it stumps me, causing a response along the lines of “I don’t know.” As I thought about it more I realized I didn’t know why I do the sport I claim to love. If even I, as a runner, don’t know the answer to why I run, I decided that I must find my reason and also hopefully give readers an insight into why one would choose to run. 

The most obvious reason one may choose to run is the various health benefits. Just like any other exercise, running is a great way to stay in shape. It can help one lose weight and gain muscle. Running also helps your heart, thus lowering the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Each time your foot hits the hard pavement when running, it strengthens your joints and helps build strong bones. But still, for many, health is a minor reason as to why they run… which brings me back to the beginning. Beyond health, why would one choose to run rather than go do any other form of exercise? What better way to figure that out than to ask some of LHS’s most committed runners why they run? Here’s what they said.

“I run because I love pushing myself and being around other people who are willing to work equally hard to reach their goals,” said LHS cross country team captain and senior Hannah Dumansky.

“I run because I love competition and pushing myself. It’s fun seeing how far I can really go and what I’m capable of,” said Kadin Groen, senior and another team captain of the LHS cross country team.

“Running brings me joy. My body and mind function highest when I’m running and after I run. I run because I was made to run, and I want to make the most of the gifts I’ve been given,” said Luke Jelen LHS’s Head Cross Country Coach who has been running all throughout his life from high school to college.

Running is different for everyone. From the various responses above one can tell running means different things to different people. Today I sought out to find my reason… my purpose for running. After interviewing these committed athletes I can proudly say I have found my reason. So, why do I run? Running to me is not only a passion but also an escape. Running is the pre-race jitters and the post-race adrenaline. It’s meals with my team and runs downtown. It’s eating an absurd amount of carbs and ingesting too much blue Gatorade. It’s the runner’s high feeling and it’s the sound of my feet hitting the pavement. Running isn’t just one thing. I run not because I’m always good at it but because it makes me feel alive. When I run it’s like everything disappears and it’s just me. 

Not everyone is going to love running. It can be hard and insanely defeating, but it can also be extremely rewarding and end up shaping some of the best memories of one’s life. My challenge to you is to just try it out. You don’t have to go super fast or very far; just put on that pair of sneakers and go for it. Running is not just the health benefits but it’s the long-time reward and challenge of pushing your body to lengths not many even challenge to go to. So, in the words of Dumansky, “Saying running is hard would not be doing it justice. Running sucks. But the culture of running has made all the tough times worth it.”