Running Moves from Forrest Gump to Frederick Fun Runs

“Run, Forrest, run!”

It’s one of those funny little sayings in the American lexicon courtesy of the movie Forrest Gump. People use it to spur one another on to finish a run.

Running is one of America’s top forms of recreation, with more than 30 million Americans running at least three times a week. While running a few miles for fitness became a trend almost 40 years ago, this activity now involves more than 100 running shoe varieties, varying types of running socks, running shorts, leggings made just for running, special watches and entertainment you can wear on your sleeve. Not to mention, many of us don’t run just to run but we run to run a fun run!

This month, the Green Valley YMCA joins in that fun with the Lucky Leprechaun Run at Old National Park on March 14. The run is sponsored by the YMCA of Frederick County. For more information on the run, flip to page 15.

Fun runs are gateway activities for health seekers to train with a purpose. When someone is exercising with a goal such as finishing a race, I have found that they are exponentially more successful because exercise becomes fun, and not just another chore to do on the way to losing weight. To help tie your desire to train for an event successfully under the eye of a professional, the Green Valley YMCA runs a program called Train Your Way to a 5K. Five K races are just a smidge over three miles long, and while some people compete for the awards the vast majority run just for the fun of it. And sometimes they walk for the fun of it. That’s the beauty of fun runs — you don’t really have to run it at all.

You don’t have to be fast. You actually don’t need half the stuff that is marketed to runners. All you need is 10 minutes to start with and build as you grow stronger. You don’t even have to run the whole 10 minutes. When I am out of shape and am trying to get back into it, I make myself run 100 steps but only walk 10 and with time I am running 10 minutes and walking for one. On and on it goes until I am back in form.

Many say that running is cheaper than therapy. Running gives you space to think, it pumps endorphins that give you a natural “high,” it tires you, which often leads to a better night of sleep, and with adequate rest comes the energy to enjoy the following day.

Some people say Forrest was running away from his problems. I would like to think he wasn’t running away from anything. He was running through his problems. Perhaps running could help you do the same.

So, this year, pick a fun run! Maybe join a training program to make it even more fun! Get yourself out the door in some comfy shoes and weather appropriate clothing but leave the tech at home. It will be there when you get back. I promise. Run, Forrest, run!

Editor’s Note: Jennifer Coppit taught Spanish for almost 10 years to high school students, but then fell in love with the YMCA’s mission statement and has worked in the Y for the past 14 years in leadership development, aquatics and now as the executive director of the Green Valley YMCA in Monrovia. You can reach her at or 301.607.6900.


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