10 reasons why running is for everyone

How universal is running? Former sprinter and hurdler Colin Jackson points out that human beings are physiologically built to run, while tennis player Nico Langmann shares that although he is dependent on a wheelchair, he has been ‘running’ around in one since he was a child.

Exploring the theme of why running is for everyone, Why I Run’s season finale is full of laughs and inspiration as the two guests share their most memorable Wings for Life World Run moments. Jackson reveals his ‘kinky’ side and they both agree on the number one essential for race day preparation.

Listen to the podcast here and read on to discover 10 reasons why running is for all of us.

1. Sense of freedom

Jackson was a record-setting hurdler, but when asked why he runs today, he answers: “It’s that sense of liberty. It’s to enjoy the landscape, to be out there, to be free.”

2. Fresh air and nature

As a wheelchair tennis player, Langmann says: “You’re in artificial environments, so I enjoy getting out in the real world to ‘run’ in my chair. The mountains are beautiful and that’s what I enjoy most.”

3. Immersing yourself in music… or not

When Langmann is rolling in the city, he loves to listen to music. However, when further afield it's the sounds of nature that are his soundtrack. For Jackson, it’s “music all the way!”

4. Flexibility

Go fast, go slow. Morning or night. A jog or a trek. With friends or alone. When you’re running, anything goes. “That is why running is so great, because you make it your own,” says Jackson. “It fits whatever mood you’re in.”

5. Achievable goals

“Running progresses from a gentle walk, then walking a bit quicker, to a jog and to a run,” describes Jackson. “You can set these really achievable goals.”

6. Convenience

As Jackson emphasises, when it comes to running: “You can literally do it from your door." You can even take part in a global running event right from your doorstep, with the Wings for Life World Run App.

7. Inclusive community

“I think the fact that a person in a wheelchair is in a podcast about running is the perfect example of why anyone can be part of this,” says Langmann, who was injured in a car accident at the age of two. “Obviously there are physical barriers in my life, so if I can be part of it, I think anyone can.”

8. Feeling grateful

Jackson believes that running can spark a sense of gratitude. He says: “I think over the past years we’ve learned never to take things for granted. So treat the ability to run as a luxury, really appreciate it.”

9. Having fun

Langmann enjoys participating in the Wings for Life World Run so much that he makes room for it in his tournament calendar every year. “It’s such a big highlight for me to see so many people taking part,” he says. “And it's just this incredibly fun event.”

10. Raising awareness

When you’re running in a charity event like the Wings for Life World Run, you’re also bringing hope to others. Jackson recalls meeting a devastated young man just a day after he was paralysed, and says: “That young lad, I want him to know that we are working tirelessly to find a cure.”

Langmann adds: “When I was part of the first run, I experienced a kind of vibe I never felt before. To have this very specific topic [spinal cord injury] in the spotlight and the whole world doing something for it, this is something the Wings for Life World Run has already achieved, and it is achieving more and more every year.”

The next Wings for Life World Run takes place on May 5, 2024. Sign up here to get notified.