Running is following such a popular trend that even local events such as Dam to Dam, which has been around for more than 30 years, sells out in a number of days and the Living History Farms Cross Country Race in hours. Want to be a part of the Farms race? Don’t leave your computer when online registration opens. First time national events saw huge numbers of participants in Des Moines last year including more than 20, 000 in the Color Run and 12,000 in the Glow Run alone. Let alone mud and obstacles.
What may have been described as a cult sport some twenty years ago, running is now as main stream as it gets. Name a magazine advertisement or television commercial that focused on running. You probably can. Five years ago. No way. So what is causing the surge in popularity? For starters the sport is accessible at a time when many things in the daily grind are becoming less and less accessible. There is minimal equipment to buy. There aren't any membership requirements, rental fees or contracts to sign. And many runners start and finish their run from the front door. No getting stuck in traffic just trying o get to your workout.
Running provides opportunities to exercise control in a number of different ways. It provides an opportunity for goals and objectives to be met and set; a time for personal reflection, imagination, and the chance to sort out the day’s events. Running provides for the theater of competition. Personal improvement, self satisfaction, and enjoyment in a sport that offers many personal returns only add to the physical and well being benefits of regular exercise.
Perhaps it is the collective energy and spirit of those ideals that is making running so popular. More and more people are discovering the sport and celebrating it with others at running events from the church on the corner 5K to ultramarathons and 100 mile races. Des Moines was recently named the Outstanding Runner Friendly Community of the Year in 2012. If you seem to notice more people out running over the lunch hour or through the neighborhood on your commute home for work, perhaps instead of asking yourself what you think those people are thinking, you should ask yourself why aren’t you thinking like them.