20 Interesting & Fun Facts About Running

Two friends run together at sunset

Running is a popular sport enjoyed all over the globe by people of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds in various weather conditions and climates.

Whatever your reason is for lacing up your running shoes, be it for weight loss, stress reduction, or simply to get in better shape, there are some interesting facts that you might not know about your beloved sport.

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 in the comments section below.

  1. It’s A Popular Sports

Surveys show that running’s popularity is on the rise. In fact, running’s clout has increased by over 57 percent in the last decade.

What’s more?

The sport is also more accessible thanks to the rise of online running resources and running apps such as Couch to 5K.

2. The Most Popular Race

Around the world, the half marathon is the most popular race choice.

Why it’s the case is not a surprise. The 13.1-mile event is a challenging distance with plenty of room for improvement, but the training plan is a lot more manageable than the marathon.

3. The Fastest Marathoner

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, then you should know of Eliud Kipchoge.

The Kenyan runner is the fastest marathon runner in the world.

At the 2018 Berlin Marathon, Eliud sets the world record at 2:01:39.

4. The Fastest Runner

Usain Bolt, the Jamaican Bolt of Light, is the fastest runner in the world.

The Jamaican sensation holds the world record in the 100-meter dash at a staggering finish time of 9.58 second and the 200-meter dash at 19.19 second.

His maximum recorded speed is 27.8 mph—roughly 44 km/h.

5. The Marathon Legend

Ever thought about why the marathon is 26.2 miles? And why just didn’t stick to 26 miles?

The marathon distance itself is inspired by the Legend of Pheidippides, a messenger who run roughly 25 miles to announce the victory of the Greek army over the invading Persian forces in 490 B.C.

Shortly after delivering the news, the Greek messenger collapsed on the floor and died of exhaustion.

6. The Exact Distance

The marathon distance is an exact 26.2 miles, and the length is no accident.

The official distance was established during the London Olympics as the length between the Olympic Stadium and Windsor Castle, or about 26 miles.

Why the .2?  The extra 385 yards were added inside the stadium to appease the royal family by placing the finish line in front of the royal family viewing box.

Before the London Olympics, marathon distances varied between roughly 25 and 26 miles.

7. Slowest Marathoner

Think clocking a marathon in five hours is slow? How about finishing the race in 54 years, eight months, six days, 5 hours, and 32 minutes?

That’s exactly how long it took the Japanese runner Shizo Kanakuri to finish the 1912 Stockholm Olympic. The Japanese runner drops out of the race than was invited back to finish it after some 50 years later.

8. The Wheelchair World Record

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

9. Youngest Boy Marathoner

Budhia Singh is the youngest recorded marathon finisher in history. The Indian native was reportedly only three and living in an orphanage when he finished his first marathon.

By the age of 5, young Singh has already completed over 48 marathons.

So if a kid can do it, why not you?

Check out “Marathon Boy,” which is an interesting documentary that tells a young Singh story and that of his controversial coach Biranchi Das who was killed by an Orissa gangster named Raja Acharya.

middle aged 40s or 50s happy and attractive woman with grey hair training at city park with green trees on sunrise doing running and jogging workout in health care fitness and healthy lifestyle

10. Never Too Old

Fauja, a British citizen, is the oldest recorded marathon finisher.

Nicknamed “The Turbaned Tornado,” he completed the 2012 London Marathon at the age of 101 and clocking the race at 7:49:21.

How’s that for an amazing fact?

The most amazing part of the feat is the fact that Fauja didn’t even start running until his late 80’s.

11. Highest Marathon

The Tenzing-Hilary Everest Marathon is The highest marathon in the world. The race kicks off at Gorak Shep—about 17,000 feet—near Everest Base Camp in Nepal—and ends at Namche Bazar—about 11,300 feet. The fastest time for this testing event is three hours, 40 minutes, and 43 seconds and set by Ram Kumar Raj Bhandari (Nepal).

12. Lowest Marathon

The lowest Marathon in the world is held at 200 feet below sea level in the Jordan Valley.

The international Tiberian Marathon route is set against a pristine pastoral landscape. The race kicks off in Tiberias, the capital of Galilee, which is a city in the north of Israel. Then the course takes the runners through the historic streets of the city, heading south towards the Jordan River, where participants turn around and head back.

13. Running Shoe Sales

According to estimates, about a billion pairs of running shoes are sold in the world every year.

14. Backward Running

Normal running is too overrated.

How about backward running.

Markus Jürgen, a German athlete, holds the marathon world record in this weird practice. At the 2019 Hannover Marathon, Markus finished the race in a staggering time of 3.38:27.

15. Nike Name

The famous Nike brand was named after the Greek goddess of victory.

The goddess symbol was also depicted on all sorts of victor medals during World War II.

But before Nike was known as Nike, it was actually originally called Blue Ribbon Sports, and it was used by the official U.S distribution company for Onisuka Tiger Shoes—what’s known as ASICS now.

16. A Man’s Affair

For much of the 20th century, female runners were not allowed to compete in marathon events because it was believed that long-distance running it too challenging for a woman.

In fact, the first women’s Olympic marathon was held as late as 1984 when Joan Benoit Samuelsson took the gold, finishing the race at two hours 24 minutes.

The research now reports quite the opposite. In fact, plenty of studies have actually suggested that women are actually better suited both physically and mentally for endurance running than men.

17. Male Runners & Daughters

Research reported that male runners are more likely to have a daughter.

Therefore, if you and your partner are praying for a girl, then you make sure the husband is running regularly.

Research shows that running improves your chances of conceiving a daughter.

Research out of the University of Glasgow looked at split male subjects into three categories, depending on their running frequencies while trying to conceive.

The higher likelihood of conceiving a daughter is believed to be caused by a decrease in the male hormone testosterone as a result of running more miles.

18. A Legal High

Runner’s high is a real thing.

The feeling of elation that a lot of runners experience during long-distance runners is due to the release of feel-good chemicals known as endorphins.

It feels euphoric, it’s all-natural, and it will encourage you to keep logging the miles even in the face of exhaustion.

19. Improved Sexual appeal

Research out of the University of Arkansas looked into about 400 subjects and reported that running makes you more attractive.

In fact, about 80 percent of men and 60 percent of women described feeling more desirable thanks to regular running.

20. Better Orgasms

Research examined the impact of running on sex and orgasms by looking into 78 runners who started running four times a week.

After nine months, the subjects reported they were having roughly 30 percent more sex.

That’s not the whole story. They also reported an increase of orgasms by 26 percent.

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 david@runnersblueprint.com).

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep Training Strong.

David D.