5 women on why they run and the unexpected benefits

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Whether you’re doing it for a boost to your mental health, for a cause, or using it to connect with a new group of people, there’s more to taking up running than fitness alone…

It won’t be news to you that going for a run is a good way of keeping yourself fit, but if you want a bit more inspiration to start pounding the pavements this summer, it’s time to think outside the cardio box.

That’s because running comes with a bunch of additional benefits, most of which don’t have all that much to do with fitness at all.

From helping to tackle ocean-based plastics to detoxing from the social media bubble, here’s why five different women run.

1. To feed my competitive side

“I’m okay with losing at Monopoly and I can begrudgingly admit defeat when it comes to most card games, but give me a pair of trainers and my personal best and I’m embarrassingly competitive.

For me it’s all about the sprints. There’s something about that feeling when your lungs are at capacity and your legs are seemingly moving independently of your body.

Then before you know it you’re seeing numbers on the treadmill you’ve never seen before.

That’s the bit I find genuinely addictive.”

Amy, Newcastle

2. To clear my mind

“I kind of run to sort my head out. If I’ve had a rubbish day, I know that if I go for a run in the evening it will make me feel better afterwards.

It’s a chance to get out of the house, be on my own and have a proper think about stuff. It helps me to see the bigger picture and put things back into perspective.

I’m also grateful for an opportunity to get away from social media, work emails and all the rest of it.

When you’re constantly connected, it’s good to take yourself out of that space for a bit and do something purely physical.”

Anna, London

3. To meet new people and do good

“I’m originally from Manchester, so when Adidas opened a women’s only fitness studio a few years ago, it became the perfect place to work out and meet new people, which is such a difficult thing to do in London.

Adidas Runners often pushes myself out of my comfort zone, but running with a community means there is a group of people always supporting you and being your cheerleader.

Running outdoors also makes you hyper-aware of your surroundings and nature, which is why I’ll be contributing to Adidas and Parley’s Run for the Oceans initiative.

For every kilometer you run from now until 16 June, Adidas will donate $1 to to the Parley Ocean School to help fund their fight against plastic pollution, so it’s a great time to get involved.”

Efe, London

4. To get over a break-up

“I signed up for the London marathon during a boozey night out in the aftermath of a sudden break-up.

Needless to say, when I woke up hungover, broken-hearted and newly committed to raising £2,000 for charity to pay for my place, it was… a low point.

The marathon itself didn’t go much better. Pretty much everything that could go wrong did go wrong, starting with my headphones conking out after two miles and finishing with a small child calling me “slowcoach”.

However, the important thing is that I finished it. Slowly, sure, but I finished it all the same.

And it’s a pretty good break-up story.”

Jen, Birmingham

5. To change my lifestyle

“Until I signed up for a marathon, I’d never run to the end of the street, let alone 26 miles.

I smoked, probably drank more than my weekly allocation of units and had, to quote an old PE teacher, a ‘bad attitude’ when it came to sport.

However, when it came to the training, I suddenly found that I had a bit of a knack for running. Sure, it hurt and it took up loads of time, but there was something about working to an end goal that kept me motivated.

And yes, running gets addictive. The sense of achievement you experience after running a marathon (especially the London marathon) is unbelievable.

To this day it’s still one of the most incredible things I’ve done in my life.”

AJ, Dublin

Adidas and Parley have teamed up to create the Run for the Oceans movement to raise awareness around the threat of marine plastic pollution. 

For every kilometer tracked by users of the Runtastic app until June 16, Adidas will contribute $1 to the Parley Ocean School, to educate young people about the threat of plastic pollution and inspire them to take action. Find out more here.