Quotes on Running (Motivation for Runners and Athletes)

Get inspired for your next run with this excellent list of running quotes from fellow runners and athletes!

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“There is something magical about running; after a certain distance, it transcends the body. Then a bit further, it transcends the mind. A bit further yet, and what you have before you, laid bare, is the soul.” 

Kristin Armstrong  

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen  

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” 

Dean Karnazes

“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But I don’t think that’s the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive than in a fog, and I believe running helps you do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life—and for me, for writing as well. I believe many runners would agree.”

Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running  

“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.”

Kathrine Switzer, 26.2: Marathon Stories

“Some seek the comfort of their therapist’s office, other head to the corner pub and dive into a pint, but I chose running as my therapy.”  

Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner

“Running is a road to self-awareness and reliance-you can push yourself to extremes and learn the harsh reality of your physical and mental limitations or coast quietly down a solitary path watching the earth spin beneath your feet.”

Doris Brown Heritage  

“Running is real and relatively simple…but it ain’t easy.”

Mark Will-Weber  

“Winning has nothing to do with racing. Most days don’t have races anyway. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimism, and never, ever, ever giving up.”

Amby Burfoot, The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life  
Amby Burfoot ’68 (left) finishes his 59th consecutive Manchester Road Race, setting a new record. He finished the race with friend Steve Gates (right).

“What I’ve learned from running is that the time to push hard is when you’re hurting like crazy and you want to give up. Success is often just around the corner.”  

James Dyson

“Winning isn’t about finishing in first place. It isn’t about beating the others. It is about overcoming yourself. Overcoming your body, your limitations, and your fears. Winning means surpassing yourself and turning your dreams into reality.” 

Kilian Jornet, Córrer o Morir

“I don’t run to add days to my life, I run to add life to my days.”  

Ronald Rook

“Comfort zones: If you live in one too long… that becomes your norm. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.”  

David Goggins – Can’t Hurt Me

“‎As I get older I see that running has changed for me. What used to be about burning calories is now more about burning up what is false. Lies I used to tell myself about who I was and what I could do, friendships that cannot withstand hills or miles, the approval I no longer need to seek, and solidarity that cannot bear silence. I run to burn up what I don’t need and ignite what I do.” 

Kristin Armstrong, Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run
Kristin Armstrong, second from left with her running friends. (photo: RICHARD SHEPHERD)

“But I also realize that winning doesn’t always mean getting first place; it means getting the best out of yourself.”

Meb Keflezighi, Run to Overcome: The Inspiring Story of an American Champion’s Long-Distance Quest to Achieve a Big Dream  

“Long Distance training can be a positive & constructive form of selfishness. After all, once you’re at the starting line, you’re there by yourself. No one can run a single step for you. No one can jump in & help you. No one but you can make the decisions about what to do to keep going. It’s all up to you.” 

John “The Penguin” Bingham

“I run because if I didn’t, I’d be sluggish and glum and spend too much time on the couch. I run to breathe the fresh air. I run to explore. I run to escape the ordinary. I run…to savor the trip along the way. Life becomes a little more vibrant, a little more intense. I like that.”

Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner  

“When it’s pouring rain and you’re bowling along through the wet, there’s satisfaction in knowing you’re out there and the others aren’t.”

Peter Snell  

“Movement is the essence of life.”  

Bernd Heinrich

“Train hard, turn up, run your best and the rest will take care of itself.”

Usain Bolt

“As we run, we become.” 

Amby Burfoot

“Remember, the feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running.”

Sarah Condor  

“As every runner knows, running is about more than just putting one foot in front of the other; it is about our lifestyle and who we are.”  

Joan Benoit Samuelson

“Vary your training, your running partners, and your environment. Only your imagination limits the ways you can spice up your running routine.” 

Bob Glover

“If you don’t have answers to your problems after a four-hour run, you ain’t getting them.” 

Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

“Never underestimate the power that one good workout can have on your mind. Keeping the dream alive is half the battle.” 

Kara Goucher

“Running is alone time that lets my brain unspool the tangles that build up over days…I run, pound it out on the pavement, channel that energy into my legs, and when I’m done with my run, I’m done with it.”

Rob Haneisen  

“A lot of us don’t know about another world that exists for us because it’s on the other side of suffering. That’s the real growth in life. The things that we decide to run from are the truth.”  

David Goggins – Can’t Hurt Me

“Running is my private time, my therapy, my religion.”  

Gail W. Kislevitz

“Run often. Run long. But never outrun your joy of running.”

Julie Isphording  

“Get going … walk if you have to, but finish the damned race.”

Ron Hill  

“You don’t run with your feet- you run with your heart.”  

Deena Kastor, Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory

“Run like hell and get the agony over with.”  

Clarence DeMar

“The obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life.”  

George Sheehan

“Running a marathon is not a question of whether it will be painful, but when it will be painful. It does help to have a sense of humor, but I’m also respectful of the race.” 

Will Ferrell
will ferrell on the March 2003 Cover of Runner's World, list of running quotes

“Running is a lot like life. Only 10 percent of it is exciting. 90 percent of it is slog and drudge.” 

Dave Bedford

“Running is the quickest endorphin hit I can get. I like to do it really early in the morning, before everyone gets up. It gives me a clear head and sort of resets the clock. It’s like, ‘OK, I got that out of the way. Now I can deal with people.”  

Julie Bowen

“Every marathon I ran, I knew I had a faster one in me.”

Dick Beardsley  

“Running is a thing worth doing not because of the future rewards it bestows, but because of how it feeds our bodies and minds and souls in the present.” 

Kevin Nelson

“The secret to a long and healthy life is to be stress-free. Be grateful for everything you have, stay away from people who are negative stay smiling, and keep running.”

Fauja Singh

“Step one to running a marathon: You run. There is no step two.”  

Barney Stinson

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” 

John Bingham, No Need for Speed: A Beginner’s Guide to the Joy of Running

Hopefully this list of running quotes has got you pumped up for your next quick jog, marathon or anything in between. Looking for more exciting outdoor hobbies? Check out our Huge List of Outdoor Hobbies here…