How a Grassroots Push Became a Global Movement
Global Running Day is a day celebrated all around the world. It is a time for people of all different ages, backgrounds, and abilities to come together to celebrate the sport of running. In total, about 145 different countries participate and run on this day.
Originally known as National Running Day, the event has traditionally fallen on the first Wednesday of the month of June. The inaugural event took place in 2009 and was heralded in an informal manner “befit(ting) running’s grassroots heritage and most runners’ belief that running is a lifetime activity best practiced regularly throughout the year” states Scott Douglas for Runner’s World.
For the most part, running has taken a back seat in the spotlight vehicle with an audience consisting mainly of pros and elites. There was the emergence in the 70’s of the fitness wave thanks to athletic celebrities such as Steve Prefontaine and Joan Benoit who sparked interest in the average joe. Not to mention the birth of Nike, which continues to hold the crown globally in running shoe sales. To the detriment of men and women’s’ self esteem everywhere, the 90’s brought with it Kate Moss and the “thin chic” era. For a couple of decades after there seemed to be a hole in the endurance world perpetuated by the polarization of health from fitness as well as a humanization of accoladed elites who’s legacy were tarnished by doping charges.
What brought upon the reemergence of endurance sports? Well, there are several matters to point out. The mid 2000’s brought an explosion across the nation of themed, shorter distance events such as The Color Run and the Hot Chocolate Series which expanded the almost exclusive world of running to amateurs and beginners alike. These “fun runs” brought together runners of all ages, levels and ethnicities on a common ground whether it was a local fundraiser, school event or favorite theme (we see you runDisney).
Furthermore, social media platforms have truly opened the world stage. One thing is to read Brad Pitt’s weight loss and muscle toning transformation for the movie Troy and the other is to read Average Joe from high schools’ amazing transformation. It has allowed the real and the genuine to prevail. It has also allowed there to be a plethora of techniques, nutrition plans and fitness regiments available for each type of person to choose from. In addition, just as the world has become more available, our local communities have in turn become more “runner-friendly”. Abandoned overpasses and overgrown lots have been cleaned and transformed allowing anyone a safe and free space to escape from the daily routine.
“Global Running Day is a day for people around the world to celebrate the joys of running. The key is to share your passion for the sport and inspire others to get moving.”
Collectively, we have joined together as a global running community. Thousands of run clubs, fitness shops, intramural clubs, after school programs even local bars meet every week across the nation to run. Fitness once again reigns. Today, Global Running Day has over 100 different sponsors from all across the globe who support the overall mission behind this day. Some of these sponsors include 023 Run Club, Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), Abbott, Boston Road Runners (BRR), Conqur, Maratona di Roma, Running for all European Athletics, and many others. Not only does this day aim to unite people from all over the world with the sport of running, but also to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle for everyone.
- CK & AT