I’m pretty sure Echosmith’s “Cool Kids” is directed toward us runners. As my friend said to me the other day, “Running is so cool.”
I nodded in agreement, naturally, but the next morning on my run, I started mulling over the reasons why this simple statement was actually totally true. Sure, it’s cool if you’re a runner and you’re obsessed with running and can’t talk or think about anything else (ahem), but what are the elements of our sport that truly make it totally rad?
- There are no rules. One would argue that there are “guidelines,” “suggestions” and/or “proper etiquette” when it comes to the various parts of running. But really—running is totally a rebel’s sport. I’m currently reading “Unbroken,” which chronicles the life of the late Louis Zamperini and his journey to the Olympics than through World War II (great book!), and “Louie” literally got into running because nothing else worked to calm down his wild side. Running dares you to try it without self-discipline—it’s the only thing that keeps you going. No referee will manifest in front of you during a hard 15-miler to tell you to slow down or drink more fluids. You’re on your own and make the rules as you go. Disclaimer: Yes, there are rules when it comes to the big-time events, but running—just running—is not defined by sidelines, fouls, offsides, holding or anything else that makes or breaks your other favorite sports.
- Our favorite athletes are available for comment. Isn’t it cool how accessible so many of our favorite elite athletes are via social media? I remember the first time I got a Tweet from an elite athlete. It was more a reaction of “Wow, this is cool” than “OMFG SHE ACTUALLY NOTICED ME.” It is cool—running continues to be a wide-reaching sport across the world, but it’s still niche enough that even elites at the top of the sport are talking to us age-groupers.
- People want to hang out with us. I sat in a meeting recently with a couple of dudes trying to bring a brand-new product to market for runners. Banter went back and forth about what works, what doesn’t, what’s aesthetically pleasing, does it make sense, who would buy it, does it work, etc. etc. What amazed me more than the actual product was the fact that these two people, runners themselves, wanted to hang out with more runners. On the Women’s Running side, more and more sport, lifestyle, yoga and anything else casual brands want to hang out in our magazine. Some the biggest names in the world—Nike, for example—bring in $5 billion annually for their women’s apparel. Lifestyle and running are intertwining—being a runner is becoming, literally, a lifestyle choice, and it’s cool to look like one too.
- Everyone gets a prize! One can argue that this is why I got into running—my parents told me, ever since I was a young thing, I’ve always competed for the trophy. Now, with so many debates surrounding social lessons and fairness with young children and trophies and participation medals, isn’t it nice to run off (no pun intended), enter a race, and get a medal just for crossing the finish line in 300th place? There’s no debate—participation in running is totally commendable. (Disclaimer: I started running for the carbs, not for the swag.)
- You really can run anywhere. Trail, road, beach, mountains, inside, dirt, boardwalk, treadmills, from those pesky TPS reports—you name it, we will run it, run it.
What’s cool about your run? Tweet @caitpilk and brag about it!