11 Of Our Favourite Motivational Running Quotes

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You know as well as we do that the hardest part of running doesn’t involve running at all. It’s the slow walk. The slow walk to your trainers. The moments leading up to your slow walk to your trainers, in fact. Yep, forget those first few strides, or the final mile – seeking the motivation to actually get up and out there is often the most challenging part of your entire run.

If that’s the case – and let’s face it, of course it’s the case – then you might want to add the following to your psych-up routine. We’ve compiled 12 of our favourite motivational running quotes from champion athletes, pop stars, US presidents, iconic comedians, world-famous authors and more, all of which sum up its brilliance, importance and beauty – and will help you find the willpower you need to leave the sofa, emails or life admin behind you for just 20 minutes today…

“I’ll often hear someone say, ‘I’m not a real runner’. We are all runners – some just run faster than others. I’ve never met a fake runner.” – Bart Yasso, inductee of the Running USA Hall Of Fame

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“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.” – Fred Lebow, founder of the New York City Marathon

“In the first half of the race, don’t be an idiot. In the second half, don’t be a wimp.” – Scott Douglas, author of The Little Red Book of Running

“You run against the distance, not against other runners and not against the time.” – Haile Gebrselassie, who won two Olympic and four world championship gold medals at 10,000m and set 27 world records

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“You don’t really need cocaine to get really high, y’know what I’m saying? Because there’s another way to get really high and it’s real cheap – just run 26 miles. You ever see a marathon runner? You ever see the look on his face? It’s the same look. And it only costs you a pair of fuckin’ shoes!” – Robin Williams, comedian

“The real purpose of running isn’t to win a race. It’s to test the limits of the human heart.” – Bill Bowerman, co-founder of Nike

“Running every day is a kind of lifeline for me, so I’m not going to lay off or quit just because I’m busy. If I used being busy as an excuse not to run, I’d never run again. I have only a few reasons to keep on running, and a truckload of them to quit. All I can do is keep those few reasons nicely polished.” – Haruki Murakami, best-selling author

“Being a runner, to me, has made being depressed impossible.” – Alanis Morissette, pop star

“Running taught me valuable lessons. In cross-country competition, training counted more than intrinsic ability, and I could compensate for a lack of natural aptitude with diligence and discipline. I applied this in everything I did.” – Nelson Mandela, former South African president and revolutionary

“If one could run without getting tired, I don’t think one would often want to do anything else.” – From The Last Battle, by CS Lewis

“Everyone who has run knows that its most important value is in removing tension and allowing a release of whatever other cares the day may bring.” – Jimmy Carter, former US president

Craft beer drinker, Devonian, fisherman and former content director of Coach online, Chris contributed style coverage and features between 2016 and 2019.