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Quotes About Running to Clear the Mind and Strengthen the Spirit

There are few activities better for our bodies and souls than running. Whether it’s practiced as a competitive sport, part of a workout routine, or just as an excuse to get out and move, this simple act of putting one foot in front of the other can uplift spirits, clear minds, strengthen hearts, instill fortitude, and help us realize that the seemingly impossible is actually very much within reach.

No matter how fast you run or how far you go, the decision to make running a regular part of your life is an admirable one. Setting out on foot and being alone with your thoughts is an invigorating experience, and one that can provide a fresh perspective and temporary escape from the tumults of the surrounding world. These enlightening quotes offer a look at how running has positively affected the lives of notable figures from all walks of life, from celebs like Oprah Winfrey and Cher to marathon runners and Olympians.

Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.
— Oprah Winfrey

In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, “I have finished.” There is a lot of satisfaction in that.
— Fred Lebow, co-founder of the New York City Marathon

There's a great empowerment that I get from running… If ever I'm going through something emotional and just go outside for a run, you can rest assured that I'll come back with clarity and empowerment.
— Alanis Morissette

Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, just never give up.
— Dean Karnazes, ultramarathon runner

Don't dream of winning, train for it!
— Mo Farah, long-distance runner and Olympic gold medalist

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 the lion or a gazelle — when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.
— Christopher McDougall, author

I don’t run to add days to my life, I run to add life to my days.
— Ronald Rook, retired U.S. Marine and avid marathon runner

When it's pouring rain and you're bowling along through the wet, there's satisfaction in knowing you're out there and the others aren't.
— Peter Snell, Olympic gold medalist

I always loved running… it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.
— Jesse Owens, four-time Olympic gold medalist

Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.
— Steve Prefontaine, long-distance runner and world record holder

Don’t think about the start of the race, think about the ending.
— Usain Bolt, Olympic gold medalist and world record-holding sprinter

The human spirit is indomitable. No one can ever say you must not run faster than this or jump higher than that. There will never be a time when the human spirit will not be able to better existing records.
— Sir Roger Bannister, first person to run a mile in under four minutes

Nothing lifts me out of a bad mood better than a hard workout on my treadmill. It never fails. To us, exercise is nothing short of a miracle.
— Cher

Someone who is busier than you is running right now.
— Nike advertisement

Run often. Run long. But never outrun your joy of running.
— Julie Isphording, long-distance runner and Olympian

Photo credit: USAMA AKRAM/ Unsplash

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About the Author
Bennett Kleinman
Bennett is a staff writer at Optimism as well as a freelance comedy writer. He's based in New York City.
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