Is Running A Sport?

Thursday, 20 December 2007  |  Bullish Insights

“The good runner thinks only of what is in front of him and, stretching his mind toward the finish line and putting his hope of victory in his feet, does not plot against the fellow next to him or even consider his competitors.”

– Lucian, author and philosopher, 170 A.D.


When I picked up Anton, my 6-year-old son, from school a few days ago, he told me about a conversation he had with a classmate of his who claimed he knew everything:

Anton: If you know everything, then what is the sport of my mom?
Classmate: Basketball?
Anton: No.
Classmate: Soccer?
Anton: No.
Classmate: Baseball?
Anton: No.
Classmate: What is it?
Anton: Running.
Classmate: That’s not a sport. That’s just what you do in sports like basketball and soccer.

Unfortunately, my son didn’t know how to respond to that boy’s last remark. “Is running a sport, Mama?” he asked.

How could you blame Anton for doubting? Or how could one think that his classmate lacked in knowledge? The truth is so many adults still don’t see running as a sport or a competitive activity. I have a runner friend with officemates who can’t seem to comprehend anything about running yet they can grasp the beauty of the PBA. Another runner friend’s husband blatantly said that “Running is not a competitive sport.” in my eyes.

To many, running is only the means to end. It’s what one does to warm up before working out, to lose weight, or to train for another sport. No one in his right mind would run just to run.

So, my poor Anton had to sit through an entire car ride of me rattling on about what he should say to that classmate of his. “Tell him your Mama said running is a sport. Why are marathons in the olympics if it isn’t? And, why are runners called athletes if it’s not a sport? Tell him that and let’s see what he says.”  After silence from my son, I say again “Make sure you tell him that, okay?”  It was obvious Anton had regretted ever bringing up the topic with Mama Bull Runner.

If someone told you running is not a sport (which is almost like throwing a glass of wine to your face!), what would you have answered?