The United States running industry has announced an unprecedented, unified effort to launch the inaugural National Running Day on Wednesday, June 3, to nationally and locally promote running as a healthy, easy, and accessible form of exercise. Across the country, the day will celebrate the benefits of running as part of a healthy and active lifestyle aimed at combating some of today's most pressing health issues.
Through a grassroots effort, the foremost road racing and track and field organizations from major U.S. cities--including New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Minneapolis / St. Paul, Little Rock, Denver, Eugene and San Diego--in addition to national running organizations USA Track & Field and Running USA, are encouraging Americans of all ages and fitness levels to get out and run by hosting a variety of National Running Day activities, including professional athlete appearances, free running events, group runs and clinics.
This unified effort is aimed at encouraging people to lace up their shoes and invite a friend to join them in experiencing the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of running.
"Everyone can run. That's the message of this day," said New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg. "As an industry, we know first-hand how great running is. Millions of Americans have discovered that running is an easy way to feel better, look better and live better."
Runners can join in the National Running Day festivities by simply going for a run on June 3, then logging on to the national website and social media resources at RunningDay.org to download an "I'm a Runner / I Ran Today" Facebook button, interact with other runners and find complete information. Resources available on the site will include information on local community events with running clubs and retailers, course-mapping tools, training tips and other running-related information.
"This is a day to celebrate the most universal of all sports," said USA Track and Field CEO Doug Logan. "By taking National Running Day into the virtual realm of social networking, we're doing even more to expand that universe. You might be running toward a goal, running with a purpose, or even just running away from your problems. Any reason is a good reason to run, especially on National Running Day."
Running USA is delighted to be part of the National Running Day project. With our members, leading running organizations and individuals, this industry-wide initiative will encourage and motivate America to get out and run as well as experience the enjoyment and benefits of running," said Susan Weeks, Running USA CEO.
This initiative aims to:
- Strengthen a nationwide grassroots movement to get people running.
- Encourage Americans of all ages and fitness levels to get out and run.
- As more school physical education programs disappear every day, get kids interested in running as a part of an everyday healthy lifestyle.
- Inspire children of all ages by exposing them to professional runners who know better than anyone the benefits of running.
Americans are increasingly at risk for diseases that can significantly diminish the quality,
productivity, and length of their lives.
- Currently, obesity-related illnesses cause some 300,000 deaths a year. Inactivity and poor diet will soon overtake smoking as the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
- Only one in four kids gets at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Kids' and teens' obesity rates have doubled in the past 20 years.
- Overweight youth ages 10 to 15 have an 80 percent chance of becoming obese adults by age 25.
- Health-care expenses and productivity losses related to obesity problems cost Americans more than $100 billion annually.
Exercise--and running, in particular--is one solution to combating these health issues.
- According to the American Sports Data 2007 Superstudy of Sports Participation, 39.5 million people in the United States ran or jogged at least once, and 11.7 million ran more than 100 days/year.
- In 2008, according to Running USA, there were 9.2 million finishers in road races (ranging in distance from the 5K to the Marathon), a 4 percent increase from the 8.8 million finishers in 2007.