Wednesday, September 02, 2009

european runners

for those of you into cross-cultural exchange, ASICS recently published the results of their multi-national study on running habits in Europe. you can access it here:
don't be fooled by the spare nature of the entry page. click on any one of the countries or the more general "Europe" and you'll find a lot of content regarding the nature of runners and running across the continent. it appears to have been a pretty big project, with the sample size being 3,500 runners from 7 countries ranging in age from 15-65.

i find this fascinating. whether you're European or not, what's clear is that there are very clear differences with respect to running that are identifiable based on culture on a national level. the results of the study show that different nations have different levels of running, with different motivations and different patterns. it makes you wonder what aspects of the culture in each country led to its respective relationship with running.

of course, the differences may be trite, considering that the study points to a single simple result: Europeans run. nothing earth-shattering there. and what you would expect given that ASICS sponsored this study.

but i think there is some insight provided by the study in terms of why Europeans run. and i do think it's important, because it shows that even though many people share a common passion for a common activity, they find very different reasons and very different ways to do so. which suggests that the activity--and by extension any activity (swimming, biking, running, sewing, playing cards, throwing rocks)--can be universal, particularly in the sense of being something that can unite people and societies who are so different. and better yet, it can then thereby indicate how we can seek to do so.

something we can probably use in this world.

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