Running Quotes


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Running Quotes: Body

"If you feel like eating, eat.  Let your body tell you what it wants."
          - Joan Benoit Samuelson


"I like running because it's a challenge.  If you run hard, there's the pain - and you've got to work your way through the pain.  You know, lately it seems all you hear is? Don't overdo it' and? Don't push yourself.' Well, I think that's a lot of bull.  If you push the human body, it will respond."
          - Bob Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers general manager, NHL Hall of Fame.

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"In a country where only men are encouraged, one must be one's own inspiration."
          - Tegla Loroupe, Kenya, 1994 New York City Marathon champion

"No one could have scripted a more celebratory inauguration of the new era that Benoit's victory and the great race she led....A woman was enabled to achieve what Benoit accomplished.  A woman was welcomed in that achievement by a roar of acclamation that was unequaled for any male through the whole Games.  Women competed with each other to the absolute rigorous limit of their will.  And a woman endured utter exhaustion in the sight of millions of people - because she chose to do so.  I have been astonished that so few feminists outside the USA seemed awake enough to fanfare the magnitude of what was achieved that day."
          - Roger Robinson, Heroes and Sparrows


Running Quotes: Pain 

"It's at the borders of pain and suffering that the men are separated from the boys."
          - Emil Zatopek

"No pain, no gain."
          - Athletic proverb

"Top results are reached only through pain.  But eventually you like this pain. You'll find the more difficulties you have on the way, the more you will enjoy your success."
          - Juha "the Curel Vaatainen

"Out of the silver heat mirage he ran.  The sky burned, and under him the paving was a black mirror reflecting sun-fire.  Sweat sprayed his skin with each foot strike so that he ran in a hot mist of his own creation.  With each slap on the softened asphalt, his soles absorbed heat that rose through his arches and ankles and the stems of his shins.  It was a
carnival of pain, but he loved each stride because running distilled him to his essence and the heat hastened this distillation."
          - James Tabor, from "The Runner," a short story


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Running Quotes: Mind

"It's elevating and humbling at the same time.  Running along a beach at sunrise with no other footprints in the sand, you realize the vastness of creation, your own insignificant space in the plan, how tiny you really are, your own creatureliness and how much you owe to the supreme body, the God that brought all this beauty and harmony into being."
          - Sister Marion Irvine, 2:51 PR and 1984 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier

"If the furnace is hot enough, it will burn anything."
          - John Parker, Once a Runner

"Believe in yourself, know yourself, deny yourself, and be humble."
          - John Treacy's four principles of training prior to Los Angeles 84

"The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare."
          - Juma Ikangaa, Tanzania

"Good things come slow - especially in distance running."
          - Bill Dellinger, Oregon coach

"Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day.  It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"
          - Peter Maher, Irish-Canadian Olympian and sub-2:12 marathoner

"Fear is a great motivator."
          - John Treacy, 1984 Olympic silver medalist

"I prefer to remain in blissful ignorance of the opposition.  That way I'm not frightened by anyone's reputation."
          - Ian Thompson, who ran a 2:09:12 marathon at the 1974 Commonwealth Games

"The thing that makes [Bob] Kennedy so good is that he doesn't have a fear of losing.  He was willing to go to Europe and get hammered."
          - Frank Shorter

"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 a lion or gazelle - when the sun comes up, you'd better be running."
          - Inspirational sign on a runner's office wall

"Dream barriers look very high until someone climbs them.  They are not barriers anymore."
          - Lasse Viren

"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing.  You have to make the mind run the body.  Never let the body tell the mind what to do.  The body will always give up.  It is always tired morning, noon, and night.  But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.  When you were younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired...You've always got to make the mind take over and keep going."
          - George S. Patton, U.S. Army General and 1912 Olympian

"Mind is everything: muscle - pieces of rubber.  All that I am, I am because of my mind."
          - Paavo Nurmi

"Run hard, be strong, think big!"
          - Percy Cerutty

"A lot of people run a race to see who's the fastest.  I run to see who has the most guts."
          - Steve Prefontaine

"Once you're beat mentally, you might was well not even go to the starting line."
          -Todd Williams

"Bob does well in big races because he doesn't stand at the starting line and establish a pecking order.   He doesn't look around and say: 'Oh, sp-and-so is here...'  His great gift is his ability to focus completely on himself and his own race, and then let the place or the time take care of itself."
          - Coach Vince Lananna on Bob Kempainen

"The body does not want you to do this.  As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong.  You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy...It is not age; it is not diet.  It is the will to succeed."
          - Jacqueline Gareau, 1980 Boston Marathon champ

"[Scientific testing] can't determine how the mind will tolerate pain in a race.  Sometimes, I say, "Today I can die.'"
          - Gelindo Bordin

"If I faltered, there would be no arms to hold me and the world would be a cold and forbidding place."
          -Sir Roger Bannister

"Sport is not about being wrapped up in cotton wool.  Sport as about adapting to the unexpected and being able to modify plans at the last minute.  Sport, like all life, is about taking risks."
          - Sir Roger Bannister

"There are people who have no bodies, only heads.  And many athletes have no heads, only bodies.  A champion is a man who has trained his body and his mind, who has learned to conquer pain for his own purposes. A great athlete is at peace with himself and at peace with the world; he has fulfilled himself.  He envies nobody.  Wars are caused by people who have not fulfilled themselves."
          - Coach Sam Dee The Olympian

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Running Quotes: Long Distance Runner

"Someone lent us a cottage in Harsfordshire.  I was sitting in a sort of parlor there one day, writing.  And suddenly I saw someone run past the window, along the lane outside.  With shorts on, white shirt and so on. And it seemed to me such an unusual image... that I wrote down at the top of a sheet of paper, 'the loneliness of the long-distance runner.'  I didn't know where he had come from, I didn't know where he was going.  He was simply a sort of, floating by the window.  And I put the line away, I thought I was going to write a poem with this sort of line in it. It seemed rather a nice line."
          - Alan Sillitoe, author of The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner

"I am both proud of and embarrassed by that run.  What kind of geek goes out and runs in a cloudburst just before midnight on his honeymoon?  Me, I guess.  But probably many others, too.  You know who you are."
          - Mark Will-Weber The Quotable Runner

"When the meal was over we all had a quiet rest in our rooms and I meditated on the race.  This is the time when an athlete feels all alone in the big world.  Opponents assume tremendous stature.  Any runner who denies having fears, nerves or some kind of disposition is a bad athlete, or a liar.
          - Gordon Pirie

"We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves...The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom.  No one can say, 'You must not run faster than this, or hump higher than that.'  The human spirit is indomitable."
          - Sir Roger Bannister

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Running Quotes: Coaching

"God determines how fast you're going to run; I can help only with the mechanics."
          - Bill Bowerman

"If a man coaches himself, then he has only himself to blame when he is beaten."
          - Sir Roger Bannister

"Several of my critics have said, ?Bowerman just tacks up a piece of paper in the locker room and turns his runners loose.'  They're partially right. I do give the athletes a relatively free rein and for good reason.  One of my principles is? Don't overcoach.'"
          - Bill Bowerman

"I still bother with runners I call hamburgers.  They're never going to run
any record times.  But they can fulfill their own potential."
          - Bill Bowerman

"A teacher is never too smart to learn from his pupils.  But while runners differ, basic principles never change.  So it's a matter of fitting your current practices to fit the event and the individual.  See, what's good for you might not be worth a darn for the next guy."
          - Bill Bowerman

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Running Quotes: Training

"Somewhere in the world someone is training when you are not.  When you race him, he will win."
          - Tom Fleming's Boston Marathon training sign on his wall

"Running is a lot like life.  Only 10 percent of it is exciting.  90 percent of it is slog and drudge."
          - Dave Bedford, English distance runner who occasionally put in 200 miles a week in training

"A lot of people don't realize that about 98 percent of the running I put in is anything but glamorous: 2 percent joyful participation, 98 percent dedication!  It's a tough formula.  Getting out in the forest in the biting cold and the flattening heat, and putting in kilometer after kilometer."
          - Rob de Castella

"You have to go through cycles of extreme poverty and suffering for a while; they are used to that...They get up early, run hard, rest drink tea, get out and run hard again.  Wehn Simon Dirorie gets up at 4 a.m. - I'm dedicated, but I'm not that dedicated."
          - Keith Brantly, on why the Kenyan runners are so good, 1993

"I think people can handle 150 to 200 miles a week.  But something has to give somewhere.  If he's a student, how's he going to study?  He may be at the age of chasing and courtship, and that's an important form of sport and recreation, too."
          - Bill Bowerman

"Workouts are like brushing my teeth; I don't think about them, I just do them.  The decision has already been made."
          - Patti Sue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

"Ill train like a madman, un loco.  Well, not like a madman, perhaps, but as if it were my last race."
          - Rudolfo Gomez, prior to the Los Aneles Olympic Games

"The long run is what puts the tiger in the cat."
          - Bill Squires

"If someone says, 'Hey, I ran 100 miles this week.  How far did you run?' ignore him!  What the hell difference does it make?....  The magic is in the man, not the 100 miles."
          - Bill Bowerman

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Running Quotes: Racing

"That is the sort of race which one really enjoys - to feel at one's peak on the day when it is necessary, and to be able to produce the pace at the very finish.  It gives a thrill which compensates for months of training and toiling.  But it is the sort of race that one wants only about once a season."
          - Jack Lovelock

"Everyone in life is looking for a certain rush.  Racing is where I get mine."
          - John Trautmann

"I tell our runners to divide the race into thirds.  Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart."
          - Mike Fanelli, club coach

"Those who say that I will lose and am finished will have to run over my body to beat me."
          - Said Aouita

"I haven't seen too many American distance men on the international scene willing to take risks.  I saw some U.S. women in Barcelona willing to risk, more than men.  The Kenyans risk.  Steve Prefontaine risked.  I risked - I went through the first half of the Tokyo race just a second off my best 5000 time."
          - Billy Mills

"My whole feeling in terms of racing is that you have to be very bold.  You sometimes have to be aggressive and gamble."
          - Bill Rodgers

"It is a paradox to say the human body has no 'limit.'  There must be a limit to the speed at which men can run. I feel this may be around 3:30 for the mile.  However, another paradox remains - if an athlete manages to run 3:30, another runner could be found to marginally improve on that time."
          - Sir Roger Bannister

"A race is a work of art that people can look at and be affected in as many ways as they're capable of understanding."
          - Steve Prefontaine

"It came like electricity, it came from every fibre, from his fingertips to his toes.  It came as a broad waters come through a gorge.  He called on it all."
          - Norman Harris, description of Jack Lovelock's finishing kick to win the 1936 Olympic 1500

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Running Quotes: Marathon

"The marathon is like a bullfight.  There are two ways to kill a bull, for instance.  There is the easy way, for one.  But all the great matadors end up either dead or mauled because for them killing the bull is not nearly as important as how they kill the bull.  They always approach the bull at the greatest risk to themselves, and I admire that.  In the marathon, likewise, there are two ways to win.  There's the easy way if all you care about is winning.  You hang back and risk nothing.  Then kick and try to nip the leaders at the end.  Or you can push, challenge the others, make it an exciting race, risking everything. Maybe you lose, but as for me, I'd rather run a gutsy race, pushing all the way and lose, then run a conservative, easy race only for a win."
          - Alberto Salazar, 1981

"Marathoning is like cutting yourself unexpectedly.  You dip into the pain so gradually that the damage is done before you are aware of it. Unfortunately, when the awareness comes, it is excruciating."
          - John Farrington, Australian marathoner

"We are different, in essence, from other men.  If you want to win something, run 100 meters.  If you want to experience something, run a marathon."
          -Emil Zatopek

"The marathon's about being in contention over the last 10K.  That's when it's about what you have in your core.  You have run all the strength, all the superficial fitness out of yourself, and it really comes down to what's left inside you.  To be able to draw deep and pull something out of yourself is one of the most tremendous things about the marathon."
          - Rob de Castella

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