September 01, 2013

Why Russians Don't Run

Why Russians Don't Run

It is a chilly September afternoon and I am sitting in a smoky Italian restaurant at the dismal southern end of a St. Petersburg metro line with Yevgeny Kurov. Buzz-cut, 45, mustached, and a tightly wound 5' 10", he wears a new Garmin GPS watch on his left wrist and juggles two mobile phones. He's run multiple marathons and is training for a triathlon.

"So, why don't Russians run?" I ask as we wait for our pizza to arrive.

I have been in Russia for just over 10 days and, aside from the Moscow Marathon, have yet to see a single runner out on the streets, despite the clear, cool fall weather. Moscow has 12 million residents and St. Petersburg has 5 million. Yet none of them seem to pound the pavement.

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