Trends in Fitness – The Running Boom

By Eric Bofinger

Arthur Lydiard, a running coach from New Zealand started the modern day running boom in the early ’60s.  It traveled to the US in the late 60s and early 70s when Bill Bowerman, Co-Founder of Nike and the Coach of the University of Oregon’s Track and Field team was invited to New Zealand to observe this phenomenon.  According to Kenny Moore (2006) many general practitioners and post-cardiac patients came crawling to Lydiard for advice on fitness since he was revered as one of the top running coaches in the world.  With the help of exercise scientists, Lydiard decided that he would start training these patients with a few minutes of running a day.  Eventually these people were running miles a day!  Lydiard only had a few rules the most important being train don’t strain.  This running boom didn’t take long to build; on any given weekend you would see hundreds of people from kids to grandmas running in the park.  Upon returning home to Eugene, OR Bowerman told everyone and with the founding of Nike as his pedestal running exploded in America.

In today’s day and age running is still booming, especially in the Philadelphia area.  If you take a look at the number of finishers in the Broad Street Run I’m sure you’ll be surprised.  Over the last decade the number of finishers has boomed from 6692 in 2000 to 26266 in 2010, nearly a four-fold increase.  Are you one of these people?  You may not know it but there are plenty of resources for running in this area.  We even have a running club, Bucks County Road Runners.  If your not quite sure how to get started, just stop by theAthletic Shoe Shop in Newtown, pick up a new pair of running sneakers, then stop by BucksFit to get your running program.

There is no set recipe to become a good runner, to finish a mile or a marathon, but it does start somewhere.  Re-read Shawn’s post from yesterday to help with goal setting and stay-tunned for my post next week as I dig deeper into this topic.

*Moore, Kenny (2006). Bowerman and the Men of Oregon. Rodale