Running Motivation: 15 Runners Inspire You to Dream Big

Looking for some running motivation to help you run your best in 2024?

You know...

  • Set big running goals
  • Chase PRs
  • Run longer than you ever have before
  • Sign up for a race that's on your bucket list

If you're not sure you're ready to move up, run faster, or take on an epic race distance, dig into these 15 inspiring stories for some running motivation to help you go the distance in the coming year...

"I made up my mind that I wanted to do better and be better, no matter how long it might take." —Dan Burk

Ready to get back into shape, but not sure if you can? 
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Runner Dan Burk has a message for you, no matter where you're at on your journey...
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"Every step counts."
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Check out his journey to train for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon...

"It’s easy to just follow along with what anyone tells you to do, but you should do your research and make sure you’re getting guidance from an individual with enough knowledge and background in endurance racing." —Cali Schweikhart

Ever wonder how to train for a Spartan Race if you've never done it before? 
.
(FYI...there's plenty of running + you have to be strong in mind and body.)
.
Check out this Q&A with 3 OCR pros packed with training tips for beginners.

  • Cali Schweikhart
  • DJ Fox
  • Josh Ried
Grayson Murphy is the 2019 Mountain Running World Champion and a 2-time US Mountain running champion.

Will trail running ever become a mainstream sport in the U.S.?
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You know...the kind of mainstream sport that pays professional trail runners well, gets media coverage, and has a massive fan base
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🏃‍♀️Runner Grayson Murphy and The Trail Team founded by four-time national trail champion Andy Wacker are on a mission to make it happen.
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Here's an inside look...

"When you're trying to do something different, you usually have to fail so many times, until that new habit starts to sink in." —Robert O'Farrell

Looking for something other than a race? Try a running project. 
.
You know, like...

  • Go for a long run and hit every Taco Bell in a 30-mile radius
  • Recreate Dean Karnezes' pizza delivery experience in the middle of a long run
  • Run from point A to point B across your county like Rickey Gates
  • Run across the entire United States, or...
  • Run every street in your city...even if it takes you four years and 3,000+ miles

When self-described "fat guy runner" Robert O'Ferrell decided he was sick of being overweight and out of shape, he knew it was time to make a change.
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But he never imagined the journey this tipping point would take him on.
.
Here's what happened...

"I needed a way to just get away and take a break for a little while. So I started running, and I just got hooked." —Gail Edwards

Think you're too old or out of shape to be a daily runner? 
.
It's never too late to start. 
.
This 67-year old Gail Edwards is a veteran marathoner and crushes 80-miles a week.
.
Here's a peek into her mindset and training to keep going...

“It is really important to believe in yourself. There will be moments you doubt, so surround yourself with people who also believe in you.” —Lucy Scholz

What's it like to run 340 miles of unforgiving, often desolate, desert in a race with no rules, spectators or aid stations? This is The Speed Project.
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As an unofficial, underground event, The Speed Project draws the curious, the creative, and the competitive, like runners Daisy Hidalgo and Lucy Scholz.
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These women ran The Speed Project in two very different ways from Santa Monica, Calif., to Las Vegas, Nev.
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Curious about the cult-following for The Speed Project and what it takes to go the distance?
.
Here's what happened when Daisy and Lucy stepped up to the starting line...

Ultrarunner Timberlin Henderson is on a mission to raise money for the non-profit Fundamental Needs to support the Navajo Nation.

Earlier this year, ultrarunner Timberlin Henderson set a goal to make every mile count...
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His goal...raise $50,000 and awareness for Fundamental Needs, a nonprofit based out of the Four Corners area (where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona converge.
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He crushed a ton of miles & united the running community to serve the Navajo Nation by providing the necessary resources to improve access to: 

  • Clean drinking water
  • Sanitation
  • Hygiene
  • Education
  • Electricity, and... 
  • Proper food sources

Here's what happened...

"Stop listening to articles and people who say there is a best running shoe. It's not there. It does not exist. There is no best. Only a best for you." —Hollie S.

Ever wonder what it's like to run in the desert?
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🔥It can get really HOT.
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If you want to beat the heat, you have to wake up early.
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It requires a certain kind of mindset to chase sunrises, train for races and go after PRs...with a smile.
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And nobody does it better than running shoe expert and WeeViews member Hollie Sick...

Walking, hiking and running trails outside the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, Calif., helped Michael Spivery adapt and recover after surviving and IED blast in Afghanistan and losing his arm.

"Let's go for a run." 
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Some days you might not feel like it. You know...

  • Too tired
  • Too cold, wet or windy
  • Too early or too late
  • Or just lack motivation

But for Marine Corps vet Michael Spivey the invitation changed everything.
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Here's what happened...

"Running the New York City Marathon was such an awesome experience. It helped me realize I could do hard things. The body is an amazing machine...we are capable of so much more than we think." —Melissa Malone

Ever wonder what it would take to run the year in miles?
.
You know...like run at least 2,023 miles this year.

  • For most runners, that's not going to happen by accident. 
  • To run the year in miles, you need to run an average of 38 miles a week.
  • And if you take time off of running for vacation, family matters, work, health issues or anything else, you'll need some higher-mileage weeks to make up the difference.

But when running has been part of your life for 35+ years like it has for Pennsylvania-based runner Melissa Malone, fitting in a run isn't a chore or check-the-box kind of task...

  • It's a lifestyle
  • A lifeline to happiness, calm and better health
  • A daily reminder that life is a lot like running with ups and downs, happy moments, hardships, and highlights

Here's how she demolished her goal to run 2,023 miles this year...

"I find that a lot of newer runners will compare themselves to other runners. Don't run against the person standing beside you. Run for you." —David Eliuk

Ever thought about running a half marathon...with a twist?
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It all started late one night when David Eliuk was online looking for his next running challenge.
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He already checked off some sweet goals:
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✅Set a 2:59 marathon PR
✅Run the Boston Marathon
✅Swim, bike and run 140.6 miles of a full Ironman
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David worked really hard to complete these goals. But pretty soon, he found himself asking the question: What's next?
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Click, type, tap...tap...tap, and the Mysterious Force revealed his next big goal.
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Here's what happened...

"Just start. Don't compare yourself to others. It's toxic. Just continuously try to work on getting better than you were before." —Ashley Cherie

Do you run for a reason?
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When Ashley Cherie was more than 100 pounds overweight, she knew she needed to change. 
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She gained weight during pregnancy. Her weight kept going up after her son was born.
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She knew it wasn't healthy. But trying to manage all the work that comes with a newborn made her feel stuck.
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And then something happened that changed everything...

Kelvin Kiptum won the Chicago Marathon earlier this year and broke the marathon world record. The new marathon world record: 02:00:35!

What's the marathon world record?
.
If you asked the question just a few days before the 2023 Chicago Marathon, it was...

But something unexpected happened on Oct. 8, 2023 at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon...

  • 👟Kelvin Kiptum won the Chicago Marathon and broke the marathon world record
  • The new marathon world record: 02:00:35

It's one of those reminders that anything is possible.
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Here's how Kiptum ticked off 26.2-miles to break the marathon world record... 

Lucy Charles-Barclay shattered the women’s-only IRONMAN World Championships course record with a time of 8:24:31. She broke the tape nearly two minutes ahead of the previous record set by five-time champion Daniela Ryf five years ago.

IRONMAN history was made in Kona, Hawaii, this year, in more ways than one...
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👉For the first time in the event’s 45-year run, the women of IRONMAN (or should we say IRONWOMAN?) took complete charge of the big island.
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🏊‍♀️🚵‍♀️🏃‍♀️The inaugural women’s-only IRONMAN World Championships welcomed over 2,200 of the fiercest female athletes in endurance sports—no boys allowed.
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😲As if that weren’t enough, first place finisher Lucy Charles-Barclay shattered the course record with a time of 8:24:31. 

  • She broke the tape nearly two minutes ahead of the previous record set by five-time champion Daniela Ryf in 2018. 
  • Ryf, a member of the HOKA athlete team, took fifth place this time around. 

But that's still not all...

"There are more wins than losses within our failures if we really evaluate the situation. I have failed over and over again in this sport, but I still believe that you can do incredible things if you stay dedicated." —DJ Fox

What does it take to set the fastest known time (FKT) on a 500 mile trail that extends across the state of Colorado through unforgiving high altitude terrain of equal parts beauty and harshness?
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Ultrarunner, endurance coach, and 2022 World's Toughest Mudder champion, DJ Fox wanted to find out. 

  • After moving to Durango, Colorado in 2022, DJ found himself running almost daily on the southern terminus of the Colorado Trail (CT). 
  • He became inspired by, curious about, and even slightly obsessed with completing the whole trek on his own two feet.
  • And to do it all in less than 7 days, 13 hours, 16 minutes, and 15 seconds–the FKT held by professional ultrarunner, Michael Mcknight

So he planned the perfect route and organized a crew to go the distance.
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🏃‍♂️Here's what happened...

What's your big running goal in 2024?

Tell us about it in the comments.

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Evan Jensen
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SANDY, Oregon
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I help RUNNERS reduce injuries, fix running form, run longer & faster by strength training without running ragged. I'm a NASM...

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