The Top 15 Running Quotes Ever

After hours of internet-ting, web slicing, and rereading dozens of articles, I’ve come up with 15 of my favorite running quotes of all time.

It was tough enough to select them overall, so I’m not going to rate the last 15. I’ve placed them in random order:

He cleared the hurdles like he feared they had spikes imbedded on the top, and leaped the water hazard as if he thought crocodiles were swimming in it. – A description of Kenya’s Amos Biwotts’ 8.51,0 steeplechase win in Mexico City

As I stepped onto the track I felt my legs go rubbery. I saw over a 100,000 people in the stands, and before I knew it, I had collapsed onto the infield grass. “Can it be,” I remembered thinking, as I lay there gazing up at the sky, “that I’m so nervous I’m not going to be able to run?” Then I realized how ridiculous I’d look, flat on my back on the grass as they started the race. I guess the humor of that image made me lose my nervousness. I was able to recover, get up and jog to the starting line. – Tom Courtney, on the moments before he won the Olympic 800m gold in Melbourne

To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who’s never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind. – Jerome Drayton

Marathoning is like cutting yourself unexpectedly. You dip into the pain so gradually that the damage is done before you are aware of it. Unfortunately, when awareness comes, it is excruciating. – John Farrington, Australian marathoner

No one knows the fear in a front runner’s mind more than me. When you set off at a cracking pace for four or five laps and find that your main rivals are still breathing down your neck, that’s when you start to panic. – Ron Clarke

I was unable to walk for a whole week after that, so much did the race take out of me. But it was the most pleasant exhaustion I have ever known. – Emil Zatopek’s description of the Olympic Marathon win in Helsinki

When I came to New York in 1978, I was a full-time school teacher and track runner, and determined to retire from competitive running. But winning the New York City Marathon kept me running for another decade. – Grete Waitz

I just run as hard as I can for 20 miles, and then race. – Steve Jones (when asked about his race plan, after he had won the “Chicago Marathon” in the then world’s best time)

World records are only borrowed. – Sebastian Coe

The mile has a classic symmetry. It’s a play in four acts. – John Landy

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