Running Facts
Running Facts

52 Speedy Facts about Running

By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published January 26, 2018
  • The most powerful computers on earth cannot generate the number of computations it takes to run on two legs.[8]
  • In the late 19th century, running was called "pedestrianism."[8]
  • A woman's breasts move the same amount whether she runs fast or slowly.[6]
  • Humans can outrun almost every other animal on earth over long distances.[7]
  • The ancestors of humans developed the ability to run long distances about 2.6 million years ago, most likely to hunt prey for food.[7]
  • Some runners wear band aids or rub vaseline over their nipples to guard against friction and chafing.[4]
  • Treadmill Fact
    Treadmills were used to torture prisoners (Lennon001 / Creative Commons)
  • The treadmill was originally designed for English prisons as a tool for punishment.[8]
  • Because men's hearts are 20–25% larger than women's, especially the left ventricle, men can run longer and more easily than women.[5]
  • Women are predisposed to carry 10–15% more fat than men. This means that women have to work harder to run at an equivalent pace.[5]
  • The youngest marathoner in the world is Budhia Singh, who completed 48 marathons before his fifth birthday.[14]
  • Lactic acid can build up in the body during strenuous running training, which can change the taste of breast milk.[15]
  • Runners report having a better sex life than their slower-paced counterparts.[1]
  • The fastest marathon runner in the world is Kenyan Dennis Kimetto. He ran a marathon in 2 hours, 2 minutes, 57 seconds in the 2014 Berlin Marathon.[10]
  • In 1967, Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with an official bib. She entered under the name K. V. Switzer so officials would not automatically identify her as a female.[22]
  • If you are losing faith in humanity, go out and watch a marathon.

    - Kathrine Switzer

  • The most common running injury is "runner's knee," or patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), which is irritation of the cartilage on the underside of the kneecap.[2]
  • During a 10-mile run, feet strike the ground around 15,000 times, at a force of three to four times the body's weight.[20]
  • The Badwater Ultramarathon claims to be the world's toughest footrace. Stretching 135 miles (217 km) from Death Valley (the lowest point in North America) to Mount Whitney (the highest point in the lower 48 states), this grueling race is by invitation only.[23]
  • Oldest Runner
    Fauja Singh's nickname is the Running Baba
  • The world's oldest marathoner is Baba Fauja Singh from India. He was 100 years old when he completed the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in Canada in 8 hours, 25 minutes, 16 seconds. He says the key to his longevity is that he has "no ego and no greed."[21]
  • Runners who wear red are more likely to win a race.[3]
  • Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain holds the record for the fastest female marathoner.[23]
  • Nicknamed the "world's coolest marathon," the North Pole Marathon is the northernmost marathon in the world.[23]
  • The most southern marathon in the world is in Antarctica, where the average windchill temperature is -4 degrees Fahrenheit.[23]
  • Famous people who have finished marathons include Oprah Winfrey, Sean Combs, President George W. Bush, Will Ferrell, and Katie Holmes.[23]
  • Dubbed the "Marathon Man," Belgian runner Stefaan Engels ran the marathon distance every day for a year, totalling 9,569 miles (1,5401 km).[23]
  • In 1972, the Boston Marathon became the first marathon competition to allow women to enter. Previously, marathons were thought to be too grueling for females.[23]
  • Before the 1960s, drinking water was strictly prohibited from races shorter than 10 miles in the United Kingdom and much of Europe. It was believed that drinking water would make a runner weak.[22]
  • In 1978, Nike introduced the first women-specific running shoe, the Nike Waffle Racer.[18]
  • When women run, their breasts don't just move up and down; they move in a complex figure-eight pattern, with about 6 inches of motion with each stride.[6]
  • Women Running Facts
    They move more than you think

  • In 1987, Jackie Joyner-Kersee became the first female runner to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The caption next to her photo read: "Super Woman."[18]
  • Recreational running didn't become mainstream until the late 1960s. In 1958, the Chicago Tribune announced a strange new fitness fad: jogging.[16]
  • Author Oscar Wilde was forced to run on a treadmill during his two-year prison sentence.[16]
  • In the 1960s, running for exercise was so unusual that some people were stopped by police. People would try to run in the morning because police became suspicious if they saw a grown man running at night.[11]
  • Ethiopian Abebe Bikila ran barefoot when he won the 1960 Rome Summer Olympic marathon race in record time.[17]
  • Some ultra-runners may develop what is known as "runner's face." This is when a runner burns off too much fat from their face too quickly, creating a "Skeletor" appearance.[19]
  • Distance runners are prone to "dead butt syndrome"—inflammation of the tendons in a person's rear end.[9]
  • According to legend, when the Greeks defeated the Persians in battle in 490 BC, soldier Pheidippides ran approximately 25 miles (40 km)  from Marathon, Greece, to Athens to deliver the news. Once he arrived he shouted, "Rejoice, we are victorious," and then promptly died. The distance he ran became the distance of the modern marathon, 26.2 miles (42 km).[23]
  • Philippides Fact
    Pheidippides is the central figure in the story that inspired the marathon race

  • Many runners suffer from black toenails, which is caused by bleeding under the toenails. Poor-fitting shoes are usually the culprit.[9]
  • Approximately 56% of people who run outdoors get a runny nose. Both cold and dry air have been shown to increase nasal mucous production.[9]
  • University of Oregon running coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman helped introduce recreational running to the United States. He said he discovered the benefits of recreational running on a trip to New Zealand in 1962.[11]
  • The average cost of quality running shoes in the United States is between $115 and $120.[12]
  • Runners replace their running shoes every 300–500 miles (483–805 km). If a person wears their running shoes for every-day use, the shoes will last only around 200 miles.[12]
  • On average, men are faster runners than women at all distances. This is because testosterone stimulates muscle mass development and increases the concentration of red blood cells and hemoglobin.[5]
  • Running Physiology
    There are certain gender differences in running

  • The first place a running shoe breaks down is in the midsole. If the ball of the sole is flexible, it is a key sign that the midsole is wearing out.[12]
  • Runners typically live longer than those who do not run.[13]
  • An average one-hour weight training session burns about 300 calories. A one-hour run burns about 600.[13]
  • Running for just 30 minutes a day boosts a person's sleep quality, mood, and concentration levels.[13]
  • Sports Bra Fact
    An early sports bra was called "Free Swing Tennis Bra"
  • The sports bra was invented in 1977, which helped improve women's running apparel.[18]
  • Running is a high-impact activity, which means it strengthens and remakes bones along with muscles.[13]
  • Research shows that running stimulates the immune system to help fight off colds.[13]
  • Running is the most basic form of exercise because it uses a person's own body, weight, and two legs.[13]
  • People who run an average of 5 miles (8 km) or more per day have a 41% lower risk of developing cataracts, which is the leading cause of age-related vision loss and blindness.[13]
  • In 1980, it initially seemed like Rosa Ruiz won the Boston Marathon. However, officials discovered she joined the race near the finish line. They also discovered that she had ridden the subway to the finish line in the 1979 New York City Marathon.[23]
  • Interesting Running Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    Running Infographic
References

1"10 Compelling Reasons Why You Should Date a Runner." Runtastic. March 26, 2017. Accessed: December 27, 2017.

2Aschwanden, Christie. "The Big 7 Body Breakdowns." Runner's World, February 3, 2011. Accessed: December 27, 2017.

3Beresini, Erin. "Will Wearing Red Make Me Faster?" Outside, October 31, 2012. Accessed: December 27, 2017.

4Boyle, Bryan. "Ask the GearGuy: How to Waterproof Your Run." Runner's World, June 2, 2015. Accessed: December 27, 2017.

5Brooks, Amanda. "What’s Different for Men vs Women Running?" Run to the Finish (blog). Accessed: December 27, 2017.

6Butler, Sarah Lorge. "8 Things to Know about Running and Your Breasts." Runner's World, February 9, 2017. Accessed: December 27, 2017.

7Chen, Ingfei. "Born to Run." Discover, May 28, 2006. Accessed: December 27, 2017.

8Cregan-Reid, Vybar. How Running Makes Us Human: Footnotes. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2016.

9Delman, Stephanie. "9 Weird Things Running Does to Your Body." Everyday Health. Accessed: December 28, 2017.

10"Dennis Kimetto." Runner's World. Accessed: December 27, 2017.

11Edwards, Phil. "When Running for Exercise was for Weirdos." Vox. August 9, 2015. Accessed: December 28, 2017.

12"Facts & Trivia about Running Shoes." Ragged Mountain Running Shop. Accessed: December 28, 2017.

13Fetters, K. Aleisha. "25 Reasons Running is Better Than the Gym." Men's Fitness. Accessed: December 28, 2017.

14Gaikwad, Pramod. "I Want to Run and Represent My Country in Olympics: Budhia Singh." The Indian Express, August 5, 2016. Accessed: December 27, 2017.

15"Got Milk? Running and Breastfeeding." Salty Running (blog), October 30, 2013. Accessed: December 27, 2017.

16Green, Anna. "The Speedy History of Recreational Running." Mental Floss. May 22, 2016. Accessed: December 28, 2017.

17Heinrich, Bernd. Racing the Antelope: What Animals Can Teach Us about Running and Life. New York: Cliff Street Books/Harper Collins, 2001.

18Pattillo, Allison, Caitlyn Pilkington, and Emily Polachek. "Timeline: Women’s Running through the Years." Competitor Running. Updated October 17, 2014. Accessed: December 28, 2017.

19"Runner's Face: Myth or Reality?" Self. October 25, 2013. Accessed: December 28, 2017.

20"Running and Your Feet." American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine. Accessed: December 27, 2017.

21Singh, Manpreet K. "At Almost 106 Years Old Fauja Singh Reveals the Secret of His Youthfulness." SBS. March 30, 2017. Accessed: December 27, 2017.

22Snyder, Paul. "Just About Every Element of Modern Running Was—At One Point—Frowned Upon." Runner's World, December 26, 2017. Accessed: December 28, 2017.

23Tanenbaum, Sharon. "26.2 Fun Facts about Marathons." Everyday Health. Updated October 10, 2011. Accessed: December 27, 2017.

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