20 Fascinating Facts About Running That Will Amaze You

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Cross Training For Runners
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David Dack

Hey there, fellow running enthusiast!

If you’ve ever wondered about the captivating world of running, you’re in for a treat.

Running isn’t just a sport; it’s a global phenomenon that unites people of all ages, shapes, and backgrounds.

Whether you’re pounding the pavement to shed a few pounds, de-stress, or simply boost your fitness, running has some surprising and delightful secrets up its sleeve. If you’re interested in reading more running, health or fitness facts check out Fact Retriever.

So, lace up those running shoes and get ready to explore some jaw-dropping facts about our favorite sport!

20 Interesting & Fun Facts About Running

In today’s post, I’ve rounded up 20 of my favorite interesting facts about running, ideal for schooling your running partners over a long run.

Sure, the facts shared below may not help you reach your full running potential or do much to your fitness, but it will make you at least appreciate the sport a little bit more.

I hope these help inspire and motivate you through your training.

Do you have any to add yourself? Please do so in the comments section below.

Running Fact – 1. It’s A Popular Sports

Did you know that running is experiencing a massive surge in popularity? Over the past decade, it has seen an incredible 57% spike in enthusiasts hitting the pavement, tracks, and trails!

But that’s not all – the running world has evolved.

With the advent of online running resources and nifty apps like Couch to 5K, taking your first steps towards becoming a seasoned runner has never been easier or more accessible.

Running Fact – 2. The Most Popular Race

Here’s a fascinating tidbit: when it comes to racing, half marathons take the crown as the most popular choice worldwide.

But what makes them the go-to pick?  Well, it’s no shocker! The 13.1-mile race strikes a perfect balance – it’s challenging enough to keep runners engaged and driven for improvement, yet its training plan is notably more manageable than the full-blown marathon.

Running Fact – 3. The Fastest Marathoner

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years (or perhaps sprinting so fast you missed the news), you’ve probably heard of Eliud Kipchoge.

This Kenyan dynamo holds the title of the fastest marathon runner on the planet.

His legendary moment came at the 2018 Berlin Marathon, where he shattered records and left jaws dropping worldwide by completing the race in an astonishing 2 hours, 1 minute, and 39 seconds.

Yes, you read that right – 2:01:39! Eliud Kipchoge’s performance is nothing short of mind-blowing and continues to inspire runners everywhere to chase their own dreams at full throttle.

Running Fact – 4. The Fastest Runner

Usain Bolt, often referred to as the Jamaican Bolt of Light, is undeniably the fastest runner in the world.

This Jamaican sensation has left an indelible mark in the world of sprinting, holding the world record in the 100-meter dash with an astonishing finish time of 9.58 seconds and the 200-meter dash with a remarkable 19.19 seconds.

Bolt’s maximum recorded speed is a mind-boggling 27.8 mph, which translates to roughly 44 km/h. His lightning-fast performances have solidified his legendary status in the realm of athletics.

Running Fact – 5. The Marathon Legend

Have you ever wondered why the marathon is around 26 miles?

The marathon distance is actually inspired by the Legend of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger who famously ran approximately 25 miles to deliver the news of the Greek army’s victory over the invading Persian forces in 490 B.C.

However, shortly after completing this incredible feat and delivering the momentous news, the Greek messenger tragically collapsed and died of exhaustion.

It’s this heroic and dramatic event that has led to the establishment of the marathon distance, commemorating Pheidippides’ legendary run.

Running Fact – 6. The Exact Distance

The marathon distance isn’t just a random 26.2 miles; it has an intriguing history.

The official marathon distance was established during the London Olympics.

Originally, it was set as the distance between the Olympic Stadium and Windsor Castle, approximately 26 miles.

But why the extra 0.2 miles? Well, those additional 385 yards were added inside the stadium to accommodate a special request from the royal family. The finish line was positioned in front of the royal family’s viewing box as a gesture of respect and honor.

Before the London Olympics, marathon distances varied, ranging from roughly 25 to 26 miles, but it was this event that standardized the iconic 26.2-mile marathon we know today.

Running Fact – 7. Slowest Marathoner

Have you ever considered that finishing a marathon in five hours might be slow? Well, how about completing the race in 54 years, eight months, six days, 5 hours, and 32 minutes?

That’s precisely how long it took the Japanese runner Shizo Kanakuri to complete the 1912 Stockholm Olympics marathon. Initially, Kanakuri dropped out of the race and was invited back to finish it some 50 years later, earning himself a unique place in marathon history.

Running Fact – 8. The Wheelchair World Record

The world record for the wheelchair marathon is held by Thomas Geierspichler, who achieved a staggering time of one hour, 40 minutes, and 7 seconds during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

His incredible speed is a testament to the remarkable abilities of wheelchair athletes in the world of marathon racing.

Running Fact – 9. Youngest Boy Marathoner

Budhia Singh holds the remarkable distinction of being the youngest recorded marathon finisher in history. This Indian native accomplished this feat at the tender age of three while residing in an orphanage. What’s even more astonishing is that by the age of 5, young Singh had already completed over 48 marathons, showcasing incredible endurance and determination.

This inspiring story reminds us that age is no barrier when it comes to pursuing one’s passion and setting ambitious goals. If a child as young as Budhia Singh can achieve such remarkable feats, it serves as a testament to the human spirit’s resilience and tenacity.

For those intrigued by this extraordinary journey, I recommend watching “Marathon Boy,” a fascinating documentary that delves into Budhia Singh’s story and explores the life of his controversial coach, Biranchi Das. Tragically, Das met an untimely end, as he was killed by an Orissa gangster named Raja Acharya.

This gripping documentary sheds light on the complexities and challenges faced by Budhia Singh and his mentor, making it a compelling watch for anyone interested in the world of marathons and human achievement.

Running Fact – 10. Never Too Old

Fauja Singh, a British citizen affectionately known as “The Turbaned Tornado,” has earned a place in the record books as the oldest recorded marathon finisher. In a truly awe-inspiring achievement, he crossed the finish line of the 2012 London Marathon at the remarkable age of 101, completing the race in 7 hours, 49 minutes, and 21 seconds.

What makes this feat all the more astounding is the fact that Fauja didn’t embark on his running journey until his late 80s.

His incredible determination, dedication, and passion for running serve as a shining example that it’s never too late to pursue one’s dreams and accomplish remarkable goals.

Additional resource – Running vs. jogging

Running Fact – 11. Highest Marathon

The Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon holds the prestigious title of being the highest marathon on the planet. This epic race commences at Gorak Shep, situated at an astonishing altitude of approximately 17,000 feet, near the iconic Everest Base Camp in Nepal.

The challenging route leads runners through the awe-inspiring Himalayan terrain, taking them on a breathtaking journey to the finish line at Namche Bazaar, nestled at an altitude of about 11,300 feet.

The fastest recorded time for conquering this arduous marathon stands at an impressive three hours, 40 minutes, and 43 seconds, a record set by the remarkable Ram Kumar Raj Bhandari of Nepal.

Running at such high altitudes amidst the awe-inspiring backdrop of Mount Everest is a testament to the incredible feats of human endurance and the unrelenting spirit of adventure.

Running Fact – 12. Lowest Marathon

The title of the lowest marathon on Earth is claimed by the international Tiberian Marathon, which unfolds at an astonishing 200 feet below sea level in the picturesque Jordan Valley. This unique marathon route showcases the stunning pastoral beauty of the region.

The marathon journey begins in Tiberias, the vibrant capital of Galilee, situated in the northern reaches of Israel.

Participants embark on an exhilarating run through the city’s historic streets, heading southward toward the iconic Jordan River. As they reach the riverbanks, runners make a U-turn, retracing their steps on this extraordinary course.

The Tiberian Marathon offers not only a remarkable athletic challenge but also a captivating exploration of the rich history and natural beauty of the region.

Running Fact – 13. Running Shoe Sales

It’s truly staggering to think about the global love affair with running!

According to estimates, an astonishing one billion pairs of running shoes find their way into the eager hands (and feet) of runners worldwide every year.

That’s a whole lot of running enthusiasts pounding the pavement and hitting the trails, each with their own unique story and motivation for lacing up those shoes.!

Running Fact – 14. Backward Running

Who says running has to be done facing forward?

Markus Jürgen, a German athlete, took the road less traveled (literally) by setting the world record for backward running in the marathon category.

In a remarkable feat of athleticism and perhaps a touch of quirkiness, Markus completed the 2019 Hannover Marathon in a jaw-dropping time of 3 hours, 38 minutes, and 27 seconds, all while running backward!

Running Fact – 15. Nike Name

Did you know that the iconic Nike brand, synonymous with sports and athleticism, draws its name from the Greek goddess of victory?

That’s right, Nike isn’t just a catchy name – it carries the essence of victory and triumph. During World War II, the goddess’s symbol adorned various victor medals, emphasizing her association with success.

But here’s a fun fact for you: Before it became Nike, the company was called “Blue Ribbon Sports.” It started as the official U.S. distributor for Onitsuka Tiger Shoes, which we now know as ASICS. So, next time you slip on a pair of Nikes, remember that the journey from “Blue Ribbon Sports” to the goddess of victory is a fascinating part of sports history!

Running Fact – 16. A Man’s Affair

It’s hard to believe, but for a significant part of the 20th century, female runners were not allowed to compete in marathon events. Why? Because there was a prevailing belief that long-distance running was too physically demanding for women.

It wasn’t until 1984 that the first women’s Olympic marathon was held, and Joan Benoit Samuelsson made history by clinching the gold with a finishing time of two hours and 24 minutes.

Fast forward to today, and research paints a very different picture. Numerous studies have suggested that, in fact, women may be better suited for endurance running than men, both from a physical and mental perspective.

Running Fact – 17. Male Runners & Daughters

Believe it or not, research has suggested that male runners may be more likely to have daughters. So, if you and your partner are hoping for a girl, encouraging your husband to take up running might be a good idea.

A study conducted at the University of Glasgow delved into this intriguing topic. The researchers divided male subjects into three groups based on their running frequencies while trying to conceive. What they found was rather surprising: a higher likelihood of conceiving a daughter among those who ran more miles.

This fascinating connection is thought to be linked to a decrease in the male hormone testosterone, which can occur as a result of running longer distances.

Additional Resource – Your guide to running and sex drive.

Running Fact – 18. A Legal High

Runner’s high is no myth; it’s a very real and exhilarating phenomenon. Many runners can attest to experiencing a profound sense of elation during long-distance runs, and science backs up this wonderful feeling.

The magic behind runner’s high lies in the release of endorphins. These feel-good chemicals flood your system, creating a natural euphoria that can keep you going even when you’re faced with exhaustion..

Running Fact – 19. Improved Sexual appeal

Here’s an intriguing tidbit: research from the University of Arkansas suggests that running can make you more attractive.

They surveyed around 400 subjects and discovered something quite fascinating.

Approximately 80 percent of men and 60 percent of women described feeling more desirable as a result of their regular running routine

Here’s how running can improve your sex life.

Running Fact – 20. Better Orgasms

Here’s a fascinating discovery: research delved into the impact of running on sex and orgasms by following 78 runners who began running four times a week.

After nine months, the subjects reported something quite remarkable. They claimed to be enjoying approximately 30 percent more sex than before they started running.

But there’s more to this story – they also reported a 26 percent increase in the frequency of orgasms.

20 Interesting & Fun Facts About Running – Conclusion

These facts are some of the most interesting ones about running. But if you have any that you would like to share, feel free to do so in the comments section below (or simply email them to [email protected]).

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep Training Strong.

David D.

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