Every year on November 20th, the global community comes together to celebrate International Hug A Runner Day, often referred to as G.O.H.A.R.D. (“Globally Organized Hug A Runner Day”). This special day is not only about recognizing the dedication and perseverance of runners but also about fostering a sense of camaraderie and unity within the wider running community. As we delve deeper, we’ll uncover the rich history, significance, and diverse ways in which enthusiasts from all corners of the world mark this spirited occasion.

History of International Hug A Runner Day

Established in 2010, International Hug A Runner Day, often known as G.O.H.A.R.D., began as a modest tribute called “Hug A Cross Country Runner Day” by an ardent runner. The initiative was subsequently championed and broadened by Tim Catalano and Olympian Adam Goucher. Over time, this day has evolved to foster deeper connections within the running community, emphasizing the uplifting power of a simple hug during training or races. Annually, it garners significant participation, underscored by events like the “Hug A Runner 5K For $5K Challenge”. Additionally, it has a benevolent dimension; considerable donations are raised for children-centric charities like Girls on the Run and Shoes That Fit through related running event registrations.

Why Celebrate International Hug A Runner Day?

  • Running promotes cardiovascular health, which benefits not just the body but also the mind.
  • The day serves as an ode to the discipline and determination that runners exhibit.
  • Celebrating the day highlights the incredible endurance and resilience runners showcase in their pursuits.
  • It underlines the importance of community support and unity in any endeavor, running being no exception.
  • Emphasizing this day creates awareness about the therapeutic benefits of running, which can combat anxiety and stress.
  • The running community is vast and diverse; this day applauds every runner, irrespective of age, gender, or proficiency.

How to Celebrate International Hug A Runner Day

  • Join a local running club and share your experiences, making sure to distribute hugs freely.
  • Organize a running-themed movie night featuring films like “Chariots of Fire” or “Forrest Gump”.
  • Take a moment to acknowledge the efforts of runners by sending them motivational messages or notes.
  • Financially support runner-related charities or initiatives that are close to your heart.
  • Host a community-based running event, fostering interaction and shared experiences among participants.
  • Gift a runner something special, perhaps a customized water bottle or a unique pair of running socks.
  • Attend or participate in a marathon, soaking in the atmosphere and cheering for the runners.
  • Invite friends for a jog in the park, making it a fun and active way to spend time together.

Fun Facts about Runners and Running

  • The world’s oldest annual marathon, the Boston Marathon, started in 1897.1
  • A study suggested that running can actually help to extend your lifespan by several years.2
  • The average human running speed is about 8-9 mph, but elite sprinters can reach up to 25 mph.
  • Did you know? The name “marathon” derives from the ancient Greek soldier Pheidippides who allegedly ran from the city of Marathon to Athens to deliver a message.3
  • Ultramarathons, races that are longer than the traditional 26.2-mile marathon, can range up to 100 miles or more.4
  • The record for the most marathons run on consecutive days is 366!5
  • The Four Deserts Race Series is known as the most challenging ultramarathon series in the world, taking runners through deserts in Chile, China, Antarctica, and Egypt.6
  • The “runner’s high”, a euphoric feeling post-running, is attributed to the release of endorphins in the brain.7


International Hug A Runner Day stands as a testament to the camaraderie, tenacity, and spirit of the running community. It’s not just about physical fitness but also the mental strength, dedication, and community bonding that comes with the sport. Embracing this day means supporting and acknowledging every individual’s journey on the track and beyond. Whether you’re an avid marathoner or someone who loves a brisk morning jog, this day is a celebration of the joy that running brings into our lives.


What is Hug a Runner Day?

Hug a Runner Day is a special occasion designed to appreciate and show camaraderie among runners. It’s a day where the global community comes together to recognize the dedication, hard work, and passion of runners, fostering a sense of unity within the running community.

When is Hug a Runner Day?

Hug a Runner Day is celebrated annually on November 20th.

What is G.O.H.A.R.D.?

G.O.H.A.R.D. stands for “Globally Organized Hug A Runner Day.” It’s an annual celebration dedicated to showing appreciation and camaraderie towards runners around the world. This holiday is also known as International Hug A Runner.

Reviewed by HolidayToday Staff

Alex’s Take on International Hug A Runner

Running has always held a special place in my heart, especially after delving into Haruki Murakami’s autobiographical book “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.” I’ve never been a marathon runner, and my longest runs probably capped around 15 kilometers. There’s something genuinely freeing about hitting the pavement and just letting your mind wander. It’s a unique blend of physical exertion and meditative introspection. Unfortunately, recent back issues have put a bit of a damper on my running routines. On a lighter note, I often joke about searching for an “Hug a Walker Day” to suit my current pace.

The concept of “International Hug A Runner Day” is endearing. While I’d be a bit hesitant to approach strangers for a hug, even in the spirit of this holiday, I would definitely take the opportunity to embrace my runner friends. For those who are more outgoing, it’s a perfect chance to spread some warmth and positivity. And honestly, isn’t the idea of getting a spontaneous hug during a run just the best? It’s a reminder of the shared passion and community that exists among runners.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Marathon []
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/run-long-life-2017052411722 []
  3. https://www.historyextra.com/period/ancient-greece/pheidippides-marathon-runner-battle-athens-persia-sparta/ []
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultramarathon []
  5. https://runningmagazine.ca/the-scene/brazilian-runner-breaks-guinness-world-record-with-366-consecutive-marathons/ []
  6. https://www.racingtheplanet.com/ []
  7. https://www.onepeloton.com/blog/runners-high/ []

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