Watching my akg-images colleagues do a 6km run yesterday got me thinking about how incredibly democratic a sport running is. It is probably the easiest to do by yourself, wherever you are. There is no need for expensive equipment or gyms, truly anyone can do it, whatever their age. I guess in some places one wouldn’t even need shoes for running and so it really is within everyone’s reach. It isn’t a surprise that many of the world’s greatest long-distance runners come from areas where walking or running long distances is part of daily life.
I have never been a fan of running myself; I am more of a team sports kind of person but every runner I speak to feels almost evangelical about his or her sport. I am beginning to see the attraction, although why anyone would want to run a marathon when as legend tell us, the original runner of that distance collapsed and died on arrival, is beyond me! I saw some very determined runners yesterday and none of them seemed to be having a good time, one even collapsed just a few metres away from the finish line. I understand the desire to push oneself both physically and mentally to the limit but running seems to bring our some of the riskiest behaviour. Marathon running has been an Olympic sport from the beginning of the modern Games in 1896 and certainly sprint runners can be seen on many a Greek vase painting.
We have many images of runners in our archive but I have selected these, some famous, some not so famous! My gran used to say that I was running like “Nurmi” whenever I raced ahead on walks but to be honest it didn’t make any sense to me until I found out years later who he actually was. I just had to put a photo of him in the selection!