November 17 2016
A chance encounter on the Queensboro Bridge at Mile 15 of the New York City Marathon changed one runner's motivation mid-race.
I’m a huge fan of quotes and those that I can relate in some way to running are some of my favorites. These little nuggets of wisdom have helped me through countless runs. I’ve memorized many of my favorites so I am able to draw inspiration or courage from them. What starts as a longer quote in the early miles ends up being a few key words I can repeat when the going gets tough later during a run or race.
Recently my mom was cleaning and found a list of 26.2 inspirational quotes I had given her before we both ranthe Chicago Marathon in 2004. I was only a year in to my marathon journey at the time, but even then these quotes were planting the seeds for what would one day inspire me to start my own small business selling t-shirts!
Below I’m sharing with you some of my favorites from that list and the quote that inspired my mantra of #irunthisbody
Mile 1: Have a dream, make a plan, go for it. You’ll get there I promise. ~ Zoe Koplowitz
Mile 2: 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. ~ Proverb
Mile 3: Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there. ~ Bo Jackson
Mile 4: Mind is everything: muscle – pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind. ~ Paavo Nurmi
Mile 5: There’s not a better feeling than when you have found that moment of balance and harmony when both running and life come together. Then you know why you run and that you couldn’t live without it. ~ Joan Benoit Samuelson
Mile 6: There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life. But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint. So, too, are you. Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be. – George Sheehan
Mile 7: Run hard, be strong, think big! ~ Percy Cerutty
Mile 8: Runners just do it— they run for the finish line even if someone else has reached it first. ~ Anonymous
Mile 9: If you believe it, the mind can achieve it. ~ Ronnie Lot
Mile 10: 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
Mile 11: The more difficulties one has to encounter, within and without, the more significant and the higher in inspiration his life will be. ~ Horace Bushnell
Mile 12: Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re probably right. ~ Henry Ford
Mile 13: If you want to become the best runner you can be, start now. Don’t spend the rest of your life wondering if you can do it. ~ Priscilla Welch
Mile 14: 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
Mile 15: 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
Mile 16: The marathon is not really about the marathon, it’s about the shared struggle. And it’s not only the marathon, but the training. ~ Bill Buffum
Mile 17: 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. ~ PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian
Mile 18: No matter how old I get, the race remains one of life’s most rewarding experiences. My times become slower and slower, but the experience of the race is unchanged: each race a drama, each race a challenge, each race stretching me in one way or another, and each race telling me more about myself and others. ~ George Sheehan
Mile 19: I tell our runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart. ~ Mike Fanelli
Mile 20: There will come a point in the race, when you alone will need to decide. You will need to make a choice. Do you really want it? You will need to decide. ~ Rolf Arands
Mile 21: Pain is temporary, pride is forever.
Mile 22: You also need to look back, not just at the people who are running behind you but especially at those who don’t run and never will… those who run but don’t race…those who started training for a race but didn’t carry through…those who got to the starting line but didn’t in the finish line…those who once raced better than you but no longer run at all. You’re still here. Take pride in wherever you finish. Look at all the people you’ve outlasted. ~ Joe Henderson
Mile 23: You’re running on guts. On fumes. Your muscles twitch. You throw up. You’re delirious. But you keep running because there’s no way out of this hell you’re in, because there’s no way you’re not crossing the finish line. It’s a misery that non-runners don’t understand. ~ Martine Costello
Mile 24: The marathon’s about being in contention over the last 10K. That’s when it’s about what you have in your core. You have run all the strength, all the superficial fitness out of yourself, and it really comes down to what’s left inside you. To be able to draw deep and pull something out of yourself is one of the most tremendous things about the marathon. ~ Rob de Castella
Mile 25: Scientific testing can’t determine how the mind will tolerate pain in a race. Sometimes, I say, “today I can die.” ~ Gelindo Bordi
Mile 26: The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop, but the mind must be strong. You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy… It is not age; it is not diet. It is the will to succeed. – Jacqueline Gareau
Mile 26.2: Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired…You’ve always got to make the mind take over and keep going. ~ George S. Patton, U.S. Army General and 1912 Olympian
As the miles passed in a particularly hard marathon, I repeated this last quote to myself over and over till the words started to fade together. What I eventually said to myself over and over was – I Run This Body. These four words have become my mantra not only in running but in life. Don’t quit when the going gets tough – decide that you and you alone RUN your body.