I guess running isn't for everyone, but as ABC mentioned above there does seem to be a growing interest. I've seen some of my friends starting to get involved. Maybe it's just the age we are reaching, or maybe its more of an overall groundswell, I don't know. But it's awesome to see and I can't recommend it enough. It's probably the most inclusive sport or activity I've ever been a part of. It doesn't matter if you're young or old, fit or not, everyone can start just by putting one foot in front of the other and then adding an extra foot a couple days later.
I'm still shocked at how much it has shaped the last 5-6 years of my life since taking it up. I walked into that first learn to run class only going to accompany my wife, believing that I would hate every minute of it and fully intending to never run again once it was over. And at first I did hate it. But about a month in something changed. I think as I started to see little increments of progress (3 and 1's! Yeah!). And by the end I was signing up for another class.
Fast forward a year or two and our first child is born. Now I'm pushing his stroller through the slush trying to keep up with everyone but damned if I'm giving up. We bought sun shields and bug covers and rain shields and snow shields. Everyone at the local store knew his name even if they didn't know mine. That kid spent the better part of the first 18 months of his life getting wheeled around the streets near our running clinic by myself and my wife.
Once the second guy came around the running with the kids stopped. The older one was 18 months and starting to get antsy in the stroller on any run over 30-40 minutes, and the little one never really adjusted to it. Still, my wife and I just took turns running. And then I started running the 4.5 miles home from work a few days a week. Anything to keep getting runs in, because at this point I'm totally fucking addicted.
Somewhere in all that the 5k races we entered became 10k races, and then half-marathon's. Someday, when I have more time to properly train, I will do a full marathon. I've dropped over 30 pounds. The older boy (now 4) wants to run with us again now, so we bring them both out on fun runs and let them run until they get tired, and then run with them on our shoulders the rest of the way. Or my wife will take the oldest to her clinic runs in the stroller, which he now loves again, although he was pretty confused by the concept of 'hills', openly questioning why Mommy would run him back and forth over a busy, dusty bridge 8 times in the stroller.
A couple months ago my neighbor flagged me down as I ran down my street on the way home from work. He told me a story of how a co-worker of his has taken up running, but had stopped in the fall once it got cold (I did this the first 2-3 years as well). But then he saw this guy running down the streets during rush hour most days, didn't seem to matter how cold. He said this guy was inspiring him to get out and start running again despite the winter that never seemed to end. My neighbor said "I know that guy! He lives by me!". I laughed at the story and said it likely wasn't me, there is this other guy that runs a similar route on a more frequent basis than me (he runs morning and evening, 5 days a week and he has been partly my own inspiration) and that it was likely him. But then my neighbor said "No. I pulled you up on Facebook and he said 'yeah! That's the guy! I want to be like him!". That was the first time in my life I'd ever heard of anyone ever saying they wanted to be like me. I'm just not that kind of guy. It felt then, and still does even as I type this, like one of the proudest moments of my life.
My original clinic instructor had her own little catchphrase. "Running is fun!". I still see her all the time at runs, and she's always yelling out "Running is fun!" with a giant smile on her face. And she's right, it is fun. But in a way, it's so much more than that. To me, running is the best.
"Breakfast? Breakfast schmekfast, look at the score for God's sake. It's only the second period and I'm winning 12-2. Breakfasts come and go, Rene, but Hartford, the Whale, they only beat Vancouver maybe once or twice in a lifetime."