When was Running Invented? History, Symbolism, and Sport

When was Running Invented

It’s an exciting question that when was running invented. But was it really invented at all? Well, the answer is no. Running wasn’t invented or created. It began out of necessity millions of years ago. It evolved over many years into a sport we now love.

When Was Running Invented?

The answer to this question mainly depends on who you ask and your definition of invented. If you search on google, you will get a weird answer. It’ll tell you Thomas Running invented running in 1748. He tried to walk twofold at the same time. 

Some people say humans developed the ability to run fast because they had to run to escape predators. But it is most likely true for most animals. We can say that this logic was invented by running 375 million years ago.

First of all, we should clarify that running was never invented. It was not created or started by a person. It’s a natural ability of humans and animals. It is inherent in our human abilities, like walking or jumping. So no one invented running. If you think of running today, sports or fitness measurements may come to your mind. But in different times and cultures, running took on many other roles.

Ancient Humans & Running

According to evolutionary theory, the ability to run long distances made us human in the anatomical sense.

The research is based on fossil evidence of the modern human body. People believe that ancient humans evolved around 4.5 million years to walk upright on their legs. Later about 2.6 million years ago, they developed the ability to run long distances.

Early humans were good long-distance runners because of the daily practice of hunting animals. Hunting consists of chasing the prey until it’s too beat to flee. Often, the fast runners were the best hunters. If you can’t hunt, your chances of survival are pretty low.

Research also singled out many physical traits that suggest that our forefathers evolved as distance runners. Some of these traits include:

  • The decoupling of the shoulders while the heads aim forward during running. It allows early humans’ bodies to rotate.
  • Skull features. They help regulate overheating during running
  • A taller body with a narrower waist, pelvis, and trunk.
  • The development of bigger buttock muscles. It helps stabilize during running.

In other words, we were all made to run by default. Some scientists even claim that running is one of the most transformative events in human history. We shouldn’t take these claims lightly.

Was running Actually Invented?

Running was not invented. Any creature with legs can run. It means moving your legs faster than walking.

It is the reason for running that has changed throughout history. Once, it was used as a mode of transport. But it is mainly used as a leisure activity or sport in the modern world.

Certain inventions do exist within running. They are used to distinguish different types of running by terrain, techniques, and equipment.

Competitive running dates back to the ancient Greeks. Besides running for a purpose, we also have running for sport or health. In addition, we have different types of running such as fell, cross country, mountain, road, and track.

Who Invented Running?

No individual invented running. It began due to necessity. However, many have added their name to the list of influential runners over the years.

Running was used by people of the ancient world to carry messages. For example, the Ancient Greeks employed messengers who ran enormous distances. A Greek messenger Pheidippides ran approximately 25 miles from Marathon to Athens. He carried news of victory in the Persian wars. 

But it is hard to claim he invented ultra-distance running. Many people were running similar or greater distances at the same time. Similarly, Scottish King Malcolm Canmore may have organized the first official fell run. People might fell run for millennia before.

Running messengers were still used until the beginning of the 19th century. They were considered to be more able than horses over rough ground.

Some people say humans are better distance runners than animals. However, we can’t match their short-distance speeds.

Sprinting can also be traced back to ancient Greece. But the 100-meter dash was introduced in 1896 at the first modern Olympics.

Running for Humans: A History

Running was not invented. Any creature with legs can run. It means moving your legs faster than walking. It is the reason for running that has changed throughout history. Once, it was used as a mode of transport.

But it is mainly used as a leisure activity or sport in the modern world. Certain inventions do exist within running. They are used to distinguish different types of running by terrain, techniques, and equipment.

Running for Humans: A History

Running as a Symbol

The ancient Egyptians used running to symbolize an unusual festival called the Sed festival. It is also known as Heb Sed. It was a monumental occasion to celebrate the pharaoh’s continued rule. They usually started after 30 years of a pharaoh’s reign and continued every three years until he died. 

The festival involved several stages. The pharaoh would hold a glamorous re-crowning ceremony. It symbolized the renewal of his rule. He would also make various offerings to the gods.

However, the running aspect was the course designed to represent the lands of Egypt. The pharaoh would run four laps. He would be dressed in the royal regalia of Upper Egypt for the first two laps. He would then change the clothing for Lower Egypt for the last two laps.

The outcomes for not finishing the race are not known. Some think the race was purely ceremonial. It indicated the outrunning of old age. Others believe it was more practical. If Pharaohs could not finish the race, he may have been unfit to rule. 

Running as a Competition

Running grew out of religious rituals and festivals in different regions as a competition. The proof of competitive racing is linked to the Tailteann Games in Ireland. But the first recorded Olympic Games were born in 776 B.C.E, in Olympia, ancient Greece. 

The ancient Olympics were organized every four years.

The first Olympics included only foot races. The main event was a race. It was known as the Stadium. It consisted of a 160-190 meters sprint. The exact length varied across stadiums.

In 720 BC, Dolichos, a long-distance running race, was added to the festival.

Later on, a few sports were added, such as boxing, wrestling, and chariot racing.

The Tailteann Games

It’s impossible to pinpoint any one location as the actual start of the Tailteann Games. 

The very first event took place in Ireland in 1829 B.C. The Irish people held a festival to commemorate the death of their goddess. This festival became the birthplace of the Tailteann Games. There was a lot of events featuring running, including:

  • High jump
  • Long jump
  • Spear throwing

Other events included:

  • Sword Fighting
  • Boxing
  • Archery
  • Chariot racing

In between these events, the Tailteann Games announced the signing of new laws. 

Running as a Profession

Running is a fulfilling and engaging sport. It teaches determination, endurance, and teamwork. There are many options for you if you are interested in a running career. It will incorporate the skills running has taught you. People who run in their high school or college can choose a job that fulfils their love of the sport.

Modern Marathons

In Modern times, a marathon race is held everywhere, from the North Pole to the Great Wall of China. There are over 1,100 marathons each year just in America. Now the question is, Why is a marathon 26.2 miles long?

It wasn’t always that way. The modern Olympics were held in 1896 for the first time. The actual footraces were the marathons inspired by Greek runner Pheidippides. It was the 25 miles route of his journey. He started running from the site in the Marathon to the Olympic Stadium in Athens. The Boston Marathon followed in 1897.

For the next few years, the length of the Marathon stayed at 25 miles. But the Olympics Marathon changed venue to London in 1908. It also changed the course. Now runners would start from Windsor Castle. They end at the Royal Box at White City Stadium. It meant that the Marathon’s length was adjusted to 26.2 miles. 

Who was Thomas Running?

Thomas Running was a social media creation. He uses the concept that inventions happen when someone tries to do something twice at the same time. He made up a trend of writing funny posts about inventing.

FAQ – When was Running Invented

So When Was Endurance Running Invented?


In ancient societies, roads were practically nonexistent. Most people got about on foot. If you send messages over a great distance, sending a runner is logical.

The Greek soldier Pheidippides (530-490 BC) was the most famous messenger runner. He ran about 25 miles from Marathon to Athens to deliver the victory message. He died after he gave his message. People consider it the birth of the first Marathon.

It is probably not true. There was a flat road between Marathon and Athens. It would be better to send a horse with the triumphant message.

It was a round trip of 280 miles over a mountainous track. It was too steep for horses and took him 4 or 5 days. 

It’s true to say that ancient humans used runners as messengers in the 15th century. Two feet are easier on steep terrain than horseback. So the trail runners were the first endurance runners.

When Was Running Invented As A Sport?


Running was officially born as a sport in 776 B.C.E, in ancient Greece, in Olympia. The first event held in the Olympics was a race. In fact, from its start to 724 B.C.E., the stadion race was the only running competition hosted at the Olympics.

Before that, running was mainly used as a tool that people possessed to find food and avoid dangers. But it took many centuries to give running its modern forms.

The First Recorded Sprinting Events


Stadion was an ancient running event. It was part of the Olympic Games. From 776 to 724 BC, the stadion was the only event at the Olympic Games. The first winner of the station at the Olympic Games was Coroebus of Elis. 

The stadion was simple. The runner ran the length of the arena. It was approximately 200 yards (180 meters)—since then, sprinting has evolved and grown immensely. 

When the modern Olympic Games in 1896, sprinters ran a 100-meter dash and 400-meter dash. It relay races with teams of four sprinters each was added for the 1912 Games. The official Women’s sprint events were included in 1928. In 1990, a 200-meter dash was added.

First Olympics with Running


In 1896, the first modern-day Marathon was run at the first modern Olympics. Greece chose a course that would mimic the route run by Pheidippides to honor the history of Greek running. The route covered 24.85 miles (40.0 km).

When was jogging invented, and Why Do People Run?


According to the record, the first time “jogging” was used was in the 16th century. Jogging was reserved for the upper classes and the nobility, mainly by sworders as a training technique to develop endurance and stamina.

As centuries go by, jogging and running become much more popular in training programs.

Was Running Really invented in 1748?


If you search on google, you will get a weird answer. It’ll tell you Thomas Running invented running in 1748. He tried to walk twofold at the same time. But, running was never invented or created by a person. Any creature with legs can run. It means moving your legs faster than walking.

Who was running Invented by?


If you search on Google, it’ll tell you Thomas Running invented running in 1748. But, running was never invented or created by a person. Any creature with legs can run. It means moving your legs faster than walking.

Final Words – When was Running Invented

Running is natural for humans. For instance, watch children playing. Running wasn’t invented or created. It began out of necessity millions of years ago. Any creature with legs can run. It means moving your legs faster than walking.

It is the reason for running that has changed throughout history. Once, it was used as a mode of transport. But it is mainly used as a leisure activity or sport in the modern world.

Certain inventions do exist within running. They are used to distinguish different types of running by terrain, techniques, and equipment. Dry ounces in cup and what is nuru massage.

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