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There are certain things that come up for debate seemingly every few years. Is a hotdog a sandwich? Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? One of those topics that invariably comes up is whether or not running is a sport.

Those who enjoy it will argue to the death that it is. Of course, there are those on the other side of the fence that vehemently disagree that it is. But what is a sport? Let’s break that down and see where it takes us regarding running.

Physical Exertion and Skill

When you stop to think about it, every mainstream sport – football, baseball, basketball, soccer – heavily features running. There are plenty of sports out there that don’t have running, but it is basically a critical aspect to just about any sport.

Moreover, running can be competitive. Marathons, track and field competitions, and so many other things where running is the primary focus. Based on this set of criteria, it certainly appears as if running is a sport.


Every sport features competition, right? Well, let’s look at track and field or even marathons. Those runners, wearing their numbered bibs, are certainly not out there for a brisk morning jog. They have the aim of beating a ton of other competitors.

The crux of sport is competition. Trying to beat your opponent, come out on top, and win the prize. Running competitively offers all of those things. Do you want to be the one to tell Usain Bolt that running isn’t a sport? He may have a thing or two to say about it.


Every sport also has an entertainment aspect to it. That aspect can be for those involved as well as those following or watching the event/game. Like any sport, running has its fair share of followers, casual to devoted.

So the simple answer is that, yes, running is a sport. We may not consider your jogging down the street to be the most competitive activity, but there are many more people who do so professionally.