Running Quotes

You Might be a Cross Country Runner If:

…your shoes have more miles on them than your car does.
…you need a magnifying glass to see your name in the paper.
…people say, “You run three miles…at once?”
…your underwear covers more than your uniform shorts.
…you run farther in a week than your bus travels for meets.
…the dogs have to hurry to keep up.
…your mom tells you to run to the store because it takes too long to drive.
…the most enjoyable time you’ve had all month is a day off from practice.
…your coach won’t give you a ride home.
…the first day of practice you run 5 miles but your coach says you only ran 2.
…you can spit while running.
…you go to a golf course to run.
…you finish the race looking like you wrestled a bear and you don’t care.
…you’d rather run to school than drive.
…you combine phrases like “10 mile run” and “Easy Run” in the same breath.
…you can eat your weight in spaghetti.
…your highest heels are your training shoes.
…your spit strings from your chin and you don’t even care.
…a meal involves more than 3 servings!
…if you schedule dates around meets.
…you spend more on training clothes than school clothes.
…you wear those same training clothes to school regularly.
…your Christmas list includes more than one pair of running shoes.
…you’ve been to a golf course in every city but not to play golf.
…your entire family goes to cross-country meets because they have been or will be on the team.
…you have running withdrawal if you don’t run everyday.
…you eat spaghetti three times a day.
…the mile in P.E. becomes your warm-up.
…your Saturdays for the next 4 years are ruined.
…you have to run around in the shower to get wet.
…you enjoy running hills.
…you start to crave Power Bars.
…your favorite food group is carbohydrates.
…there are no flies by your gym locker.
…people think it’s a winter sport.
…you find yourself in the middle of a football player’s joke.
…your dessert is brussel sprouts.
…you foam at the mouth.
…you are always hungry.
…you’re running in your dreams.
…your weekends are shot.
…you wake up with cotton mouth.
…you’re are as skinny as a twig and have a stupid knit cap for the head.
…you can maintain a 5:30 pace while throwing up.
…you consider school as just a break between runs.
…your room smells like Icy-Hot and New-Skin.
…you own spandex in more than 1 color.
…track is the other “sport”.
…a 12 mile run is an easy day.
…pizza, pasta, pizza, & pasta are your four food groups.
…even your dress shoes have spikes.
…Steve Prefontaine’s Birthday is more important than yours.
…you aspire to pain.
…you never look behind you.
…you don’t know what an “off-season” means.
…you see a hill on a putting green.
…your friends refer to you as “the masochist”.
…your spit hits everything but the ground.
…the song “Bad Moon on the rise” sounds like “Bathroom on the Right.”
…you drink more water than Free Willy.
…you get pulled over after practice, and can’t walk straight because you’re so tired.
…you ran sub 5 on the P.E. mile run.
…you did a 30 minute warm up for the P.E. mile run.
…you did all of the above for the P.E. mile run.
…you routinely race dogs down the street…and win.
…dogs follow you everywhere you go.
…you have 3% or less body fat.
…you talk to your coaches more than your parents.
…you’d rather run than watch T.V.
…watching the New York Marathon on T.V. made you get up and go for a run.
…you can say “I like to run” in over five different languages.
…more than half the people you know don’t know what cross-country is.
…your cookie jar is filled with bagels.
…there are more miles on your running shoes than the odometer of your car.
…you can’t go a day without some little brat saying “Run, Forrest, run.”
…some little kid wants to know why you’re running in your underwear.
…you’re proud that another team has quadrupled your score.
…you wear skimpier clothes than Madonna.
…people always ask you what events you are running.
…you can hallucinate and get high at the same time without taking anything.
…you can say more names of your runs than names of your friends.
…you always win in your sleep but never in a real race.

Steve Prefontaine

“Some people create with words or with music or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, ‘I’ve never seen anyone run like that before.’ It’s more than just a race, it’s a style. It’s doing something better than anyone else. It’s being creative.”

“A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more. Nobody is going to win a 5,000 meter race after running an easy 2 miles. Not with me. If I lose forcing the pace all the way, well, at least I can live with myself.”

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift.”

“I don’t just go out there and run. I like to give people watching something exciting.”

“Something inside of me just said ‘Hey, wait a minute, I want to beat him,’ and I just took off.”

“What I want is to be number one.”

“Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it.”

“I’m going to work so that it’s a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it.”

“How does a kid from Coos Bay, with one leg longer than the other win races? All my life people have been telling me, ‘You’re too small Pre’, ‘You’re not fast enough Pre’, ‘Give up your foolish dream Steve’. But they forgot something, I HAVE TO WIN.”

“A race is a work of art that people can look at and be affected in as many ways they’re capable of understanding.”

“You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. 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.”

Cross Country

“Stadiums are for spectators. We runners have nature and that is much better.”
– Juha Väätäinen, Finland

“The start of a World Cross Country event is like riding a horse in the middle of a buffalo stampede. It’s a thrill if you keep up, but one slip and you’re nothing but hoof prints.”
– Ed Eyestone

“The freedom of Cross Country is so primitive. It’s woman vs. nature.”
– Lynn Jennings

“The footing was really atrocious. I loved it. I really like Cross Country; you’re one with the mud.”
– Lynn Jennings

“Get out well, but not too quickly, move through the field, be comfortable. Strategy-wise, go with your strengths. If you don’t have a great finish, you must get away to win. I’ve always found it effective to make a move just before the crest of a hill. You get away just a little and you’re gone before your opponent gets over the top. Also, around a tight bend, take off like holy hell. I’ve done that a number of times. You should not be flying down the home straight. Most of your efforts should have been put forth earlier.”
– John Treacy, Ireland’s two-time world cross country champion (1978, 1979)

“School cross country runs started because the rugby pitches were flooded. There was an alternative: extra studying. This meant there were plenty of runners on sports afternoons.”
– Gordon Pirie

“When I was about 14 or 15, and running in a pretty muddy cross country race, one of my shoes stuck in the mud and came off. Boy, was I wild. To think that I had trained hard for this race and didn’t do up my shoelace tightly enough! I really got aggressive with myself, and I found myself starting to pass a lot of runners. As it turned out, I improved something like twenty places in that one race. But I never did get my shoe back.”
– Rob de Castella

“We told our guys to hold on for 30 minutes of agony for 12 months of glory.”
– Coach John McDonnell, after Arkansas won the 1993 Ncaa Cross Country title

“Cross Country is like poker. You have to be holding five good cards all the time.”
– Rollie Geiger, North Carolina State Coach

“I prefer running without shoes. My toes didn’t get cold. Besides, if I’m in front from the start, no one can step on them. ”
– Michelle Dekkers, the barefoot South African runner who won the 1989 Ncaa cross country title for Indiana

“A running machine, that glides over mud, crud and goop.”
– Ed Eyestone’s definition of Kenyan ace John Ngugi

“The secret of cross country is to do everything we on the track and take it into the bush.”
– Mike Koskei, former national coach of Kenya


“I prefer to remain in blissful ignorance of the opposition. That way I’m not frightened by anyone’s reputation.”
– Ian Thompson, who ran a 2:09.12 marathon at the 1974 Commonwealth Games

“Jogging through the forest is pleasant, as is relaxing by the fire with a glass of gentle Bordeaux and discussing one’s travels. Racing is another matter. The frontrunner’s mind is filled with an anguished fearfulness, a panic, which drives into pain.”
– Kenny Moore

“No one knows the fear in a front runner’s mind more than me. When you set off at a cracking pace for four or five laps and find that your main rivals are still breathing down your neck, that’s when you start to panic.”
– Ron Clarke

“The thing that makes Bob Kennedy so good is that he doesn’t have a fear of losing. He was willing to go to Europe and get hammered.”
– Frank Shorter

“He cleared the hurdles like he feared they had spikes imbedded on the top, and leaped the water hazard as if he thought crocodiles were swimming in it.”
– A description of Kenya’s Amos Biwotts’ 8.51,0 steeplechase win in Mexico City

“I limbered up just a little before entering the stadium, and even so I felt a twinge in my thigh, no doubt the fruit of my imagination. And I went back to the massage room so that my faithful Morizot could take the trouble off my muscles. This soothed me considerably and I thought I was back to a normal state until somebody summoned me to the starting line. It was like feeling a blade go through my flesh.”
– Jules Ladoumegue

“As I stepped onto the track I felt my legs go rubbery. I saw over a 100,000 people in the stands, and before I knew it, I had collapsed onto the infield grass. “Can it be,” I remembered thinking, as I lay there gazing up at the sky, “that I’m so nervous I’m not going to be able to run?” Then I realized how ridiculous I’d look, flat on my back on the grass as they started the race. I guess the humor of that image made me lose my nervousness. I was able to recover, get up and jog to the starting line.”
– Tom Courtney, on the moments before he won the Olympic 800m gold in Melbourne

“I have never been a killer. I’m not an aggressive personality and if I can remember any emotion I felt during a race it was fear. The greatest stimulator of my running was fear.”
– Herb Elliott

“When the meal was over we all had a quiet rest in our rooms and I meditated on the race. This is the time when an athlete feels all alone in the big world. Opponents assume tremendous stature. Any runner who denies having fears, nerves or some kind of disposition is a bad athlete, or a liar.”
– Gordon Pirie

“The new Kenyans. There are always new Kenyans.”
– Noureddine Morceli, 1988, when asked if he feared any other runners

“Big occasions and races which have been eagerly anticipated almost to the point of dread, are where great deeds can be accomplished.”
– Jack Lovelock

“Fear is the strongest driving-force in competition. Not fear of one’s opponent, but of the skill and high standard which he represents; fear, too, of not acquitting oneself well. In the achievement of greater performances, of beating formidable rivals, the athlete defeats fear and conquers himself.”
– Frank Stampfl


“To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who’s never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind.”
– Jerome Drayton

“Marathon running is a terrible experience: monotonous, heavy, and exhausting.”
– Veikko Karvonen, 1954 European and Boston Marathon Champ

“You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming.”
– Frank Shorter

“Marathoning is like cutting yourself unexpectedly. You dip into the pain so gradually that the damage is done before you are aware of it. Unfortunately, when awareness comes, it is excruciating.”
– John Farrington, Australian marathoner

“There is the truth about the marathon and very few of you have written the truth. Even if I explain to you, you’ll never understand it, you’re outside of it.”
– Douglas Wakiihuri speaking to journalists

“We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.”
– Emil Zatopek

“I definitely want to show how beautiful the marathon can be. I am the opponent of all those who find the marathon bad: the psychologists, the physiologists, the doubters. I make the marathon beatiful for myself and for others. That’s why I’m here.”
– Uta Pippig

“I felt like I played in a very rough football game with no hitting above the waist.”
– Alan Page, former Nfl football star

“You can actually suffer a little bit more going slowly than when you’re going really fast. A faster marathon might even be easier than a slow one, in terms of what it takes out of you mentally.”
– Frank Shorter

“At the two-thirds mark, I think of those who are still with me. Who might make a break? Should I? Then I give it all I’ve got.”
– Ibrahim Hussein, on marathon tactics

“I’m never going to run this again.”
– Grete Waitz after winning her first of nine New York City marathons

“The marathon can humble you.”
– Bill Rodgers

“I am too tired, even to be happy.”
– Gelindo Bordin, Italy, immediately after winning the Olympic Marathon in Seoul

“I was unable to walk for a whole week after that, so much did the race take out of me. But it was the most pleasant exhaustion I have ever known.”
– Emil Zatopek’s description of the Olympic Marathon win in Helsinki

“The Boston Marathon has had more to do with liberating and promoting women’s marathoning than any other race in the world.”
– Joe Henderson

“Get going. Get up and walk if you have to, but finish the damned race.”
– Ron Hill to Jerome Drayton during the 1970 Boston Marathon

“The New York Marathon: a fantastic event.”
– Pope John Paul II, 1982

“The starting line of the New York City marathon is kind of a giant time bomb behind you about to go off. It is the most spectacular start in sport.”
– Bill Rodgers

“When I came to New York in 1978, I was a full-time school teacher and track runner, and determined to retire from competitive running. But winning the New York City Marathon kept me running for another decade.”
– Grete Waitz

“I just run as hard as I can for 20 miles, and then race.”
– Steve Jones (when asked about his race plan, after he had won the “Chicago Marathon” in the then world’s best time)

“Anyone can run 20 miles. It’s the next six that count.”
– Barry Magee, marathon bronze in Rome, 1960

“A marathon is like life with its ups and downs, but once you’ve done it you feel that you can do anything.”
– unknown


“I was pushed by myself because I have my own rule, and that is that every day I run faster, and try harder.”
– Wilson Kipketer, when asked if the 50,000$ on offer, tempted him to break the world record

“World records are only borrowed.”
– Sebastian Coe


“The mile has all the elements of drama.”
– Sir Roger Bannister

“The mile has a classic symmetry. It’s a play in four acts.”
– John Landy

“Blink and you miss a sprint. The 10,000 meters is lap after lap of waiting. Theatrically, the mile is just the right length: beginning, middle, end, a story unfolding.”
– Sebastian Coe

“Whether we athletes liked it or not, the 4-minute mile had become rather like an Everest: a challenge to the human spirit, it was a barrier that seemed to defy all attempts to break it, an irksome reminder that men’s striving might be in vain.”
– Sir Roger Bannister

“I think it is bloody silly to put flowers on the grave of the 4-minute mile, now isn’t it? It turns out it wasn’t so much like Everest as it was like the Matterhorn; somebody had to climb it first, but I hear now they’ve even got a cow up it.”
– Harry Wilson, coach

“There was nothing unusual about my victory. The entire story was back in eighth place. There is simply no way to imagine how good Jim Ryun is or how far he will go after he becomes an adult. What he did was more significant than Roger Bannister’s first mile under 4 minutes.”
– Dyrol Burleson, after winning the Compton Invitational Mile on June 5th, 1964. Ryun, just 17, ran 3.59,0

“I ran my first sub-4-minute mile in 1977 and since then have run 136 more. Nobody has run as many sub-4s as I have, and I intend to run at least one more.”
– Steve Scott, 1995, after cancer surgery

“The 800 meter record, the records in the 1000, the 1500, the 5000, the relays: no one remembers them. The mile, they remember. Only the mile.”
– John Walker

“Almost every part of the mile is tactically important: you can never let down, never stop thinking, and you can be beaten at almost any point. I suppose you could say it is like life.”
– John Landy

“Roger Bannister studied the four-minute mile the way Jonas Salk studied polio – with a view to eradicating.”
– Jim Murray, L. A. Times columnist


“Out of the silver heat mirage he ran.  The sky burned, and under him the paving was a black mirror reflecting sun-fire.  Sweat sprayed his skin with each foot strike so that he ran in a hot mist of his own creation.  With each slap on the softened asphalt, his soles absorbed heat that rose through his arches and ankles and the stems of his shins. It was a carnival of pain, but he loved each stride because running distilled him to his essence and the heat hastened this distillation.”
– James Tabor, from “The Runner”

“Learn to run when feeling the pain: then push harder.”
– William Sigei

“Ask yourself: “Can I give more?”. The answer is usually: ‘Yes’.”
– Paul Tergat

“Pain is temporary, pride is forever!”
– Anonymous

“A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more. Nobody is going to win a 5,000 meter race after running an easy 2 miles. Not with me. If I loose forcing the pace all the way, well, at least I can live with myself.”
– Steve Prefontaine

“Remember, even 13 year old girls are training three times per day”
– Bro. Colm O’Connel


“Running is like mouthwash; if you can feel the burn, it’s working.”
– Brian Tackett

“Life is short… running makes it seem longer.”
– Baron Hansen

“When people ask me why I run, I tell them, there’s not really a reason, it’s just the adrenalin when you start, and the feeling when you cross that finish line, and know that you are a winner no matter what place you got.”
– Courtney Parsons

“People don’t know why we run, but it’s the hard work you put into practice, and the reward you get from the race.”
– Courtney Parsons

“I run because it’s my passion, and not just a sport. Every time I walk out the door, I know why I’m going where I’m going and I’m already focused on that special place where I find my peace and solitude. Running, to me, is more than just a physical exercise… it’s a consistent reward for victory!”
– Sasha Azevedo

“I believe in the runner’s high, and I believe that those who are passionate about running are the ones who experience it to the fullest degree possible. To me, the runner’s high is a sensational reaction to a great run! It’s an exhilarating feeling of satisfaction and achievement. It’s like being on top of the world, and truthfully… there’s nothing else quite like it!”
– Sasha Azevedo

“Running has never failed to give me great end results, and that’s why I keep coming back for more!”
– Sasha Azevedo

“Running is one the best solutions to a clear mind.”
– Sasha Azevedo

“My greatest ideas stem from running.”
– Sasha Azevedo

“Every run is a great run!”
– Sasha Azevedo

“People ask why I run. I say, “If you have to ask, you will never understand”. It is something only those select few know. Those who put themselves through pain, but know, deep down, how good it really feels.”
– Erin Leonard


“The training is my secret and if I told you what it was, it wouldn�t be a secret anymore! I keep the secret in my heart.”
– Wilson Kipketer, when asked about his training prior to the World Indoor Champs, 1997


“You must realize one thing. In every little village in the world there are great potential champions who only need motivation, development and good exercise evaluation.”
– Arthur Lydiard

“Like a father with a little bit of tyrant mixed in.”
– Charlie Jenkins, Villanova runner and Olympian, describing Jumbo Elliott

“To understand Cerutty you have to see him as a multifaceted personality. He could be both charming and very abusive. He was extremely amusing and darn good company providing you weren’t quarrelling with him.”
– John Landy

“Bill Bowerman was, and is, and ever shall be a generous, ornery, profane, beatific, unyielding, antic, impenetrably complex Oregon original. As a freshman, I found him deeply disturbing. Once he bet me a case of Nutrament that I couldn’t break 2.00 for the 880 on a freezing Saturday morning. I ran with control, hitting the 440 in 60. I could feel myself accelerating in the last lap. Near the finish I knew I’d done it. I slowed and turned, gasping to hear the time. “2.00,3” he said. “Good try.” I leaped on him, screaming made insane with outrage. He allowed me to wrestle the watch away from him. It read 1.56,6.”
– Kenny Moore

“Everybody and their mother knows you don�t train hard on Friday, the day before a race. But a lot of runners will overtrain on Thursday if left on their own. Thursday is the most dangerous day of the week.”
– Marty Stern, Villanova women’s coach

“If you want to tell something to an athlete, say it quickly and give no alternatives. This is a game of winning and losing. It is senseless to explain and explain.”
– Paavo Nurmi

“It is true that speed kills. In distance running, it kills anyone who does not have it.”
– Brooks Johnson

“Act like a horse. Be dumb. Just run.
– Jumbo Elliott

“God determines how fast you’re going to run; I can help only with the mechanics.”
– Bill Bowerman

“If a man coaches himself, then he has only himself to blame when he is beaten.”
– Sir Roger Bannister

“Coaches are okay, I guess, but I prefer to do things my own way.”
– Jack Foster

“Coaching an elite runner is something like driving an expensive car. The coach’s main job is to steer.”
– John Babington, Lynn Jennings’ coach.”

“Intelligent coaching is sometimes no coaching.”
– Marty Stern

“Confidence is the most important quality in all athlete-coach relationships.”
– Frank Stampfl

“If the coach cannot do it, he cannot teach it, only talk about it.”
– Percy Cerutty

“Well, no athlete respects a big, fat coach who’s going to stand there and rest the watch on his stomach.”
– Arthur Lydiard

“The thinking must be done first, before training begins.”
– Peter Coe

“Every athlete has doubts. Elite runners in particular are insecure people. You need someone to affirm that what you are doing is right.”
– Lynn Jennings

“The primary reason to have a coach is to have somebody who can look at you and say, “Man you’re looking good today.”
– Jack Daniels

“A coach can be like an oasis in the desert of a runner’s lost enthusiasm”.
– Ken Doherty

“Coaching is an art and I’m not going to let anyone change me.”
– Marty Stern

“The coach’s main job is 20 percent technical and 80 percent inspirational.”
– Franz Stampfl

“A teacher is never too smart to learn from his pupils. But while runners differ, basic principles never change. So it’s a matter of fitting your current practices to fit the event and the individual. See, what’s good for you might not be worth a darn for the next guy.”
– Bill Bowerman

“As far as being a coach, it’s always fascinated me. It’s a greater responsibility than most people give it credit for because you’re dealing with people.”
– Steve Prefontaine


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