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Greatest Running Quotes

Updated on January 3, 2013

Inspirational and Motivational Quotes

Many runners find it difficult to maintain motivation over time. Especially when the weather is uncooperative, kids or spouse demand attention or you just plain feel tired and would rather do anything else but run.

Here's the antidote : 40 quotes from top runners that will help get you going and ready to push on and get out there to run when your wimpy competitors are sitting at home on the sofa getting fat and out of shape.

And it's not just for runners, whether you're an athlete, coach, leader, salesperson, or simply someone looking to get the best out of themselves in any endeavour, the wisdom here will help get you going.

New Running Quotes

This lens has gotten a great response so I decided to add some more:

"Anybody can be a runner. We were meant to move. We were meant to run. It's the easiest sport."

--Bill Rodgers

"It is better, I think, to begin easily and get your running to be smooth and relaxed and then to go faster and faster."

- Henry Rono

"Many people shy away from hills. They make it easy on themselves, but that limits their improvement. The more you repeat something, the stronger you get."

- Joe Catalano

"I run because it's so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can't. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you're capable of so much more than you thought."

- Arthur Blank

"Life is often compared to a marathon, but I think it is more like being a sprinter; long stretches of hard work punctuated by brief moments in which we are given the opportunity to perform at our best."

- Michael Johnson

"Running is not, as it so often seems, only about what you did in your last race or about how many miles you ran last week. It is, in a much more important way, about community, about appreciating all the miles run by other runners, too."

- Richard O'Brien


Greatest Running Quotes

1. " The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare"

- Juma Ikaanga

2. " To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift. "

- Steve Prefontaine

3." A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame someone else."

- Steve Prefontaine

4. " My feeling is that any day that I am too busy to run is a day that I am too busy."

- John Bryant

5. " Cross Country: Finally a practical use for golf courses. "


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

- Emil Zatopek

7. " If the furnace is hot enough, anything will burn, even Big Macs."

-John L. Parker

8. " Believe in yourself, know yourself, deny yourself, and be humble."

-John Treacy

9. " Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go.It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about. "

- Patti Sue Plummer

10. " We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves. "

- Sir Roger Bannister

Sebastian Coe
Sebastian Coe

More inspiring quotes

11." Ask yourself, can I give more? The answer is usually yes. "

- Paul Tergat

12. " I had as many doubts as anyone else. Standing on the starting line, we're all cowards. "

- Alberto Salazar

13. " There is no such thing as bad weather, just soft people. "

- Bill Bowerman

14. "He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life."

- Muhammad Ali

15. " If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion."

-Robert Pirsig

16. " What was the secret? They wanted to know, in a thousand different ways they wanted to know THE SECRET. And not one of them was prepared, truly prepared to believe that it had not so much to do with chemicals and zippy mental tricks as with that most unprofound and sometimes heart rending process of removing, molecule by molecule, the very tough rubber that comprised the bottom of his running shoes. The Trial of Miles, Miles of Trials, how could they be expected to understand that?"

- John L. Parker

17. " If you want to win something, run the 100m. If you want to experience something, run a marathon. "

- Emil Zatopek

18. " The marathon can humble you."

- Bill Rogers

19. " Anyone can run 20 miles, but it's the next 6 that count. "

- Barry Magee

20. " Pain is temporary. Pride is forever."

- Anonymous


More running quotes

21." In every little village in theworld there are great potential champions who only need motivation, development and good exercise evaluation. "

- Arthur Lydiard

22. "If you want to say something to an athlete, give it quickly and with no alternatives. This is a game of winning and losing. It is useless to explain and explain. "

- Paavo Nurmi

23. " Pressure is nothing more than the shadow of great opportunity."

- Micheal Johnson

24. " Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible. "

- Doug Larson

25. " The difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry blank. "

- George Sheehan

26. " Most mistakes in a race are made in the first two minutes, perhaps in the very first minute."

- Jack Daniels

27. " Run like hell and get the agony over with. "

- Clarence De Mar

28. "It's very hard to understand in the beginning that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants to quit. "

- George Sheehan

29. " When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less. "

- Paul Brown

30. " 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


Still more great quotes

31. "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.

32. "In a country where only men are encouraged, one must be one's own inspiration."

- Tegla Loroupe, Kenya, 1994 New York City Marathon champion

33. "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

34. "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

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

- Gelindo Bordin

36. "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

37. "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

38. "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

39. "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

40. "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

Vote for your favourite running quote

Boston Mrathon
Boston Mrathon

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Daily Running Quotes

For more running quotes, visit my Quote of the Day page at Full Stride Quotes are updated daily and listed chronologically.

Putting One Foot in Front of the Other - Reflections on 30 Years of Running

If you like this lens, you might be interested in my new book, Putting One Foot in Front of the Other. I've been a competitive runner since I joined my first track club at the age of 11, and ran for my high school and university track teams. I've also run 14 marathons as an adult runner, including the Boston marathon in 2003 and 2007.

Here's a review of the book:

Putting One Foot in Front of the Other - Lessons Learned in 30 Years of Running is a compilation of time-tested advice for getting the most of your running.

Inside you'll find tips on many of the "soft skills" of running that experienced runners learn over time, but that many "how-to" running books don't cover. The book includes chapters on such topics as how to build your confidence as a runner, how to recover properly from your workouts, race tactics, and how to avoid and treat common running injuries. You'll also find sections on the most common training tools that runners use such as how to design an interval workout, how to include hill training (one of the secrets of the top African runners) in your program, and the answer to the common question of, "How fast should I go on my daily runs?"

Whether you're a new, intermediate or advanced runner, Putting One Foot in Front of the Other offers tips that will help you get the most out of your running.

The ebook and print versions are available from, to order, just click below.


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