By Lisa Costantini | June 03, 2015, 10:15 a.m. (ET)
Sanya Richards-Ross approaches the finish line on her way to winning gold in the women's 4x400-meter at the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on Aug. 11, 2012 in London.


People run for lots of reasons: for the exercise, to clear their heads, to enjoy the outdoors. Or if you are one of those people who don’t like to run, you only do it if someone is chasing you.

In honor of National Running Day on June 3, we asked 16 Team USA athletes whose sports involves running, to answer the question, “Why do you run?” If you weren’t a runner before, you’ll certainly consider lacing up a pair of sneakers after reading their motivation behind this celebrated sport.


Gwen Jorgensen in action during the Threadneedle World Triathlon London race on May 31, 2015 in London.

Gwen Jorgensen, Olympic triathlete and 2014 world champion: “I run because it clears my mind and refreshes my body. It’s one of the things you can do anywhere in the world — all you need is a pair of shoes.”

Kendra Newton, 100-meter hurdler: “I run because someone once told me running may not be for me. I run because running has no age. Running is that feeling of wondering if I can go just a little further, and realizing I can. I know it takes dedication, willpower and sacrifice. Running teaches me to keep moving forward — one step at a time — especially in the most painful moments. I run because running is my passion and not just a sport. I run because every victory I have inspires the special needs kids I work with to know that they can be a winner as well.”

Kind Butler III, 400-meter runner: “I run because I feel free. The wind blowing on my face. The feeling of flying. The feeling of freedom. My brother and best friend’s dream was to win the Olympics — to become the best athlete in the world. When he passed, I took upon his dream. I told him I would do it or die trying.”


Ben True competes in the senior men's race during the 40th IAAF World Cross Country Championship 2013 on March 24, 2013 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Ben True, cross-country runner: “I run because I can. Because it is the feeling of freedom — unleashed, unconfined, a return to nature and self.”

Johnny Dutch, 400-meter hurdler: “I run because I’m obsessed with going faster than I did the day before.”

Sarah True, Olympic triathlete: “I run because I know of no greater joy than running in the woods with only my thoughts for company.”

Dan Huling, steeplechase runner: “I run to push myself beyond my personal limits.”

Patrick Feeney, 400-meter runner: “I run because I love pushing my body to its limits and the satisfaction that comes with achieving a personal goal. Track has taught me how to keep pushing through obstacles even when they seem impossible, which has carried over into my life outside of track as well.”


Khadevis Robinson during the IAAF Diamond League Prefontaine Classic on July 3, 2010 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Khadevis Robinson, two-time Olympic middle-distance runner: “I run because my college coach explained that if you get up and do at least 30 minutes of running, you have already done more than 95 percent of the world. Plus, the research and science has determined that working out is more beneficial and has a better positive effect on depression than any medicine!”

Amy Hastings, Olympic long-distance runner: “I run because it makes me feel free. All my worries and troubles melt away with each mile until all that’s left is happiness.”

Sanya Richards-Ross, four-time Olympic track gold medalist:

“I run because I believe it’s my gift. And when I use it, I glorify God. I also see running as my testimony to others; no matter the situation, when you run you’re always pushing forward and that’s the best way to approach life!”


Shannon Rowbury competes in the women's 3,000-meter during the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games - IAAF Diamond League 2013 at The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on July 26, 2013 in London.

Shannon Rowbury, two-time Olympic middle-distance runner: “I run because I love to explore new places around me and the boundaries inside me.”

Chelsea Carrier-Eades, heptathlete: “I run because I want to reach my full potential. God gave me a gift, and with hard work and dedication, dreams do come true. Anything is possible!”

Molly Huddle, Olympic long-distance runner: “I run because it empowers me, and because it leads to great stories.”

Reggie Wyatt, 400-meter hurdler: “I run because the art of running has prepared me for life. More importantly, I've found purpose in something I love to do. What's more fulfilling than that?”

Hunter Kemper, four-time Olympic triathlete: “I run because I love the sense of accomplishment it brings. I run because God gave me the abilities to run. Running is a gift that I hope we can all unwrap on June 3, National Running Day!”