My husband began running in 2006. Since then he's completed three marathons and six half-marathons. I think it's great, even more so because my oldest, now twelve, began following his lead last year, running 3 km, 5 km, and recently a 10 km run.
This past Saturday, my youngest, now ten and recently diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome, ran his first 5 km run, the Santa Shuffle, which raises money for the Salvation Army. I watched with my sister, who was visiting, and our dog Sully. (No, I don't run. At least not yet, though I've been spending time on my treadmill and elliptical machines 5 days/week for the last ten months).
Anyhow... my oldest finished Saturday's 5 km run in 28 mins, running across the finish like a deer, barely breaking a sweat. My youngest (paced by his dad) finished in 41 minutes, blinking and twitching so badly as he crossed the finish line I almost cried. (His Tourette's, which often occurs in bouts where he'll twitch/blink involuntarily, is worse when he's stressed). He was worried he wouldn't be able to do it, so worried he'd had trouble sleeping the night before, and yet when he ran up to me at the end, winded and red-faced, he was clearly riding a euphoric high. You could see it in his eyes.
Later, I watched all kinds of people struggling across that same finish line, some taking 60 mins, others 65 or even more. There were parents pushing kids in strollers, couples running with their dogs, groups of elderly who'd walked. Some were robust and healthy, others overweight and out of shape, but they all finished and for that they deserve a high-five.
Running has exploded over the last decade. I think it's great because you don't need talent to do it, you can run as a family, you compete against yourself, and anyone can do it. Anyone.