Nearly 10 million women raced last year. But our relationship with running is far more personal than any number could reveal, race or not. We run toward goals and we run away from problems. We run to be alone and we run to feel like one with the world. We run to lose weight, to stay fit, to slay stress, to hit PRs. We run because we can't imagine not moving forward.
Running, unlike any other exercise or sport out there, is highly personal and inclusive. "Time and distance are only relative to you, and you're winning if you're pursuing goals that matter to you," says Mary Wittenberg, CEO of Virgin Sport and former president and CEO of New York Road Runners. "We determine the time we run. That element of control is incredibly appealing."
We like control. Beyond that, we spoke to scores of women about the reasons that drew them to the asphalt, and how you (even if you're new to this thing) can milk more benefits from every mile. Read their stories, make a plan, chart your own course.