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Runners are smart. That’s not just because running has been shown to increase the number of newly born neurons within the brain. That’s just one piece of good news for runners.

Running is an education in living.

Jocelyn and I started running sixteen years ago. We’ve learned so much about life and ourselves that we wish we had started earlier.

6 Lessons About Life

1. Running makes you a runner.

Jocelyn and I are not very fast or sleek (big smiley face here) so sometimes we doubt that we’re really runners. One of our so called, friends, saw us out one morning and described us as “speed walkers.”

John Bingham, marathoner and writer, says,

“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.”

The same is true for life.

medalsFor instance, if you lead, you are a leader.

It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been leading for 20 years. You are a leader.

We are runners…and proud of it.

2. There is joy in running – some pain too – and real energy.

Running requires energy but it also re-fuels your energy – physically and emotionally.

Like life, running, is counter-intuitive – you gain by giving.

“Running long and hard is an ideal anti-depressant, since it’s hard to run and feel sorry for yourself at the same time. Also, there are those hours of clearheadedness that follow a long run.” Monte Davis

run wild2

3. Running reveals your greater capacity.

Running a marathon seemed so far out of reach. Us? A marathon?

Until we ran one, we didn’t know we had a marathon in us.

Think about how much more is in you that you don’t know about until you try.

“I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.” Arthur Blank, founder of Home Depot and owner of the NFL Atlanta Falconsend of race

4. Running teaches you to take what a day gives.

We’ve run through sunshine and snow.

You have to do the best with what you’ve got.

“What distinguishes those of us at the starting line from those of us on the couch is that we learn through running to take what the day gives us, what our body will allow us, and what our will can tolerate.” John BinghamRunning April 16

5. Running taught me to persevere through feelings.

Running a marathon taught us not to allow feelings to determine outcomes. We seldom “felt” like running at the beginning of training runs but we ALWAYS felt happy at the finish.

“You need to look back, not just at the people who are running behind you, but especially at those who don’t run and never will, those who run but don’t race, those who started training for a race but didn’t carry through, those who got to the starting line but didn’t get to the finish line, those who once raced better than you but no longer run at all. You’re still here. Take pride in wherever you finish.”
Joe Hendersonrun wild

6. Running is about finishing, not ranking.

Anyone can start well but how many finish well?

There is no “quit” in running or in living.end of race

“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.” Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

I love the following Marathon Markers:

Posted anywhere beyond Mile 1:  “This mile marker is farther than most people will ever reach.”

At Mile 20 of the London Marathon:  “Forget everything you’ve done. It’s just a Sunday 10k left to do!”

 At Mile 22 of a marathon (when some runners hit the “wall”): “All walls have doors.”

 At Mile 23 of the Boston Marathon: “Your place in history is almost secure.”

 At Mile 25 of the San Antonio Marathon: “You are no longer a runner, YOU are a marathoner.” 

 Seen at the end of every marathon: “FINISH”

Are you a runner? What have you learned from running? Please leave a comment below. Thank you.

Related posts:
Still on the Road – I love the runners culture. Why it is so invigorating and how it can apply to your daily life.
3 Lessons Learned From A Marathon Momma – My wife Jocelyn completed a 100-Day Challenge of running. What I learned from her.
Its Always Too Soon To Quit – Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

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Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 44 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vincent and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love inspiring people through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, and reading. I'm a fan of the Double E, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers


  • adena lowry says:

    In both running and leadership, you are responsible for what happens. You need to train, you need to push, you decide the pace. No one else can do these things for you. But in the end, you realize what you can accomplish with God by your side every step of the way.
    Both running and leadership take courage. Courage to get out the door, and courage to step up and say,”I can do this.” Both take passion and purpose. Passion for a cause and purpose to achieve the goal.
    After each marathon I’ve run, I have a little cry, usually just a tear or two. Sometimes it’s sheer exhaustion, sometimes a sense of accomplishment, sometimes complete joy, sometimes glad to let it out after holding it together for the last hour or so. When leading, it’s good to remember that you are human, and you can let out a little emotion too when things get rough.
    I always remember that at 32 km, it’s always just a 10 km race left. I can do 10 km. That’s a run around my neighbourhood. When leading, at the end of the day, I pace it out, knowing I can finish well too.

  • bob jones says:

    Great comparisons between running and leading from someone who is doing both, well. Looking forward to “Run Burundi” on Saturday October 4th in Sherwood Park.

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