In response to a recent article by the The Telegraph’s Science Editor, world-beating British athelete David Moorcroft had the following letter published in the same newspaper.
Need for speed: the benefits of running fast
SIR – As someone who used to run considerably faster than 7mph (I once held the 5,000 metres world record), I read with some trepidation Sarah Knapton’s report on new research which suggests that fast running is as deadly as sitting on the sofa.
I’m happy to be able to reassure your readers that I, like many faster runners, am alive and enjoying the numerous and well-documented benefits of running. These include improved emotional and mental health, reduced risk of cancer, strengthened joints and the prevention of a host of unpleasant conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. While I admit to having a dodgy knee, the health and wellbeing benefits far outweigh my few aches and pains.
One of the joys of the 50-plus years that I have been involved in athletics is to see the hundreds of thousands of people of all shapes, sizes, abilities and ages who have discovered a love of running.
Organisations for runners of all sorts are working hard to help more people enjoy the benefits of this free, simple and accessible sport. Whether people run on their own, with friends, participate in group events like Parkrun and Race For Life, or compete for a club, running is a positive, life-affirming activity.
While I agree that “jogging a few times a week at a moderate pace” is great, running has benefits regardless of the speed you go. But I’ll be sure to warn my faster contemporaries – Seb Coe, Steve Cram, Steve Ovett – that they may soon wish they hadn’t broken all those world records.