Runners tend to be good, supportive, caring people. They tend to have a spark in their personality that is subtle and "different in a good way". Studies have shown that runners score higher on the positive attitude factors on personality profiles than those in other sports or hobbies. Other studies have been reported to me showing that as former non-runners got into running and continued, the attitude scores became more positive. What is happening here?
This past week I was in Appleton, WI, Detroit, and Flint MI, running with several delightful groups. One fellow I ran with in the Pacesetters club in Appleton said that the run with the group left him with the very best attitude boost that he received all week. A woman noted, during a run with in the Crim 10 mile training program in Flint MI, that the good feelings from the weekly group run lasted until the next run. Just being around the upbeat attitude of the Running Fit store in Detroit motivated a runner to do more runs per week.
Companies are finding that fitness events produce build team spirit. Several members of a Chrysler relay team for the Detroit Marathon mentioned that this improved company morale better than any other corporate activity they had experienced, over many months. The Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run Walk that I direct in Atlanta has a free training program that builds fitness and teamwork: "Training for this event has everyone in the company talking fitness and energized--for months".
The reason I conducted my first Running Retreat in 1975 was to provide information, and a great place to run. This annual gathering has become so much fun that almost everyone who comes once, wants to return for the boost to the spirit, that can last in some cases until the next retreat.
A run by yourself makes you feel good. Sharing the feelings in a group run enhances the positive boost. But I've found nothing more empowering than helping people get into an activity like running that changes their lives for the better.