15 Reasons To Love Running That Have Nothing To Do With Fitness

Photographed by Winnie Au.
If you're not a runner, and have never liked running, it's easy to look at a herd of joggers and think, What is wrong with all of these people? There are plenty of reasons to dislike running: It requires stamina, it makes you poop, it's hard on your muscles, and it can be boring. But for every person who vows to never lace up a pair of sneakers again, there's a handful who downright adore it.
While running technically is exercise, for many people it's more than just a workout. Running can be meditative, soothing, and even spiritual. Going on a run is a way to meet like-minded people, see your neighborhood through a new lens, or just unplug from life for a chunk of time. Some people seek the elusive "runner's high," while others find finishing a mile to be reward enough.
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Every runner is different and has their own story about why they enjoy the sport, or how they learned to love it. Ahead, real women share what gets them up and running — besides the fact that it's a workout.
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I run with my coworkers as a way to bond and blow off some steam.

"I travel for work, and hotel gyms are always lackluster. It's a great workout to help me de-stress, and it's free. I also run with my coworkers as a way to bond and blow off some steam without constantly going to happy hour (although a post-run beer is the best). Running is also a great way to see a new city within a short period of time."

– Megan, 25
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I've run 13.1 miles for a paltry hundred likes.

"I have a sneaking suspicion that no one likes running, and most people just like being in Instagram photos at finish lines. And I'm one of those people. I've run 13.1 miles for a paltry hundred likes, and my shins hurt for weeks. Probably an okay trade, but will not play again."

– Faye, 27
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I can run away from my problems.

"So I can run away from my problems."

– Ali, 23
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Running has connected me with amazing women with similar backgrounds and struggles.

"Running is my way of celebrating the strength of my body functioning in its most capable way. As a former college athlete, I battled through injuries, disordered eating, and compulsive exercise before discovering a deep joy in running. Fueling my body the way it needs to be fueled, along with listening to what it's telling me, makes running one of my most mindful activities. It's a huge stress reliever too, and has connected me with amazing women with similar backgrounds and struggles. It brings so much to my life, it's hard not to love it."

– Cara, 27
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It helps me get my steps in daily.

"I don't love to run! But it helps me get my steps in daily so I can sit on my rear all day at work and not feel horrible."

– Kim, 58
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Years of running has brought me joy, heartache, stress fractures, and even a few sweet medals.

"I just ran six miles, probably too fast, with someone I've never met before, which may sound awkward and miserable to non-runners, but ours is a tribe of some of the goofiest, warmest people out there. Right now I feel accomplished and relaxed (albeit sweaty and definitely smelly), and I've made a new friend. 21 years of running has brought me joy, heartache, stress fractures, and even a few sweet medals, but most importantly it's connected me to a network of truly amazing people."

– Anna, 27
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Running is my joy, escape, and challenge.

"Running is my joy, escape, and challenge. I love the feeling of a joyful run where the road literally seems to rise to meet each pounding step. I survive because of those runs that take me from a stressful mess to time invested in what I love. I thrive because of the competition outlet running provides — a way to challenge and compete with myself every time I lace up those sneakers. Trust me, the competition is fierce! I am so glad that I have the sport of running as an essential part of my life. It started off as an activity used in addition to training for other sports, and now it is my sole sport. To be strong and healthy enough to run is my body's gift to me, and forever striving to be a better, stronger, faster runner is all I have to give in return."

– Carol, 30
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8 of 16

It allows my creativity to flow.

"It helps me write. It clears any shred of doubt from my mind and allows creativity to flow. It's the only alone time I get most days."

– Stephanie, 25
9 of 16

Running enables me to explore the city from a unique perspective.

"I run because I love being outdoors, and running enables me to explore the city from a unique perspective. Plus, no other workout puts me in a better mood than a good run."

– Liz, 24
10 of 16

I feel like Wonder Woman.

"If I'm running a long, slow distance, running is purely meditative. I don't usually have my phone on me, and I get sort of hypnotized by the repetitive sound of my feet hitting the pavement. If I'm doing a track workout, or hill sprints, running for me becomes almost performative — I love it because I feel like Wonder Woman, smashing some invisible enemy to smithereens."

– Rebecca, 23
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Running provides me with mental-health support.

"Running provides me with mental-health support, makes me feel good, and lots of my friends do it — so it is a wonderful group activity!"

– Olivia, 26
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[I run so I can] end up at a brewery with good beer and lots of dogs.

"One of my favorite things to do during the summer is run to beer with friends. You get outside, get in a workout, catch up with friends, and end up at a brewery with good beer and lots of dogs."

– Alli, 25
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13 of 16

Endorphins.

"Endorphins; it's free; you can do it anytime. I like the feeling of having run more than actually running."

– Tula, 48
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For the booty and the beer.

"For the booty and the beer! And to clear my head, and to be able to eat whatever I want."

– Nicola, 25
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Blood to my brain makes me think better.

"I have my best thoughts when I run. Blood to my brain makes me think better. I get outdoors, see and smell nature, and let my mind wander..."

– Jessica, 40
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