This topic has been on my mind a lot lately. Besides the obvious benefits of running (increase life expectancy, being healthier, feeling better, etc) there are other reasons on why I run.
Those are all great reasons, I do feel a lot better physically and look forward to hopefully tacking on a few extra years to my life. However above all of that I run because of what it has done for my life. Of all the times I look back at running I do not think I have ever looked back on it with any sort of negativity. Running has been the one constant in my life that has brought me a lot of pleasure.
Running always seems to bring people together for the better. If you look at the unfortunate events at the Boston Marathon last year and then fast forward a year later, people seemed to band together stronger than ever. You see it at almost every run you go to. Strangers becoming friends, or random people helping fellow runners get through an obstacle or injury. The running community has an appreciation for one another that is hard to find elsewhere.
For me, in a majority of my runs this year I ran for the Organization for Autism Research. As such I would wear shirts with the organization logo. People would come up to me and tell me they are also running for that organization and we would share personal stories as to why. Here I am with someone I never met before and would normally have no reason to talk to and we are now sharing personal details of our life for the better.
Running also helps relieve stress. I know personally anytime I am going through a hard time or serious stress, that if I go out for a run it helps eliminate any issues I am worrying about. Talk to a runner and they will tell you how a good run empties your mind and takes you away from the hard times you may be going through.
So why do I run? Because it just makes me a better person. Sure I enjoy the health benefits, and love a good challenge. But since picking up running a little over a year ago I feel more positive about life than I probably would without running. It shows me that no matter what challenge lays in front of me, through hard work and practice I am able to overcome it.