Joan Nesbit Mabe writing at Songs of Experience got me to comment as follows:
Two trains of thought come to mind: (1) There was an article recently that went on to elaborate how the greatness of individuals in sports is usually debatable, except for track & field. Was Joe Nameth a better quarterback than Tom Brady? Wilt Chamberlain a better center than Shaq? There could be and endless discussion. They were from different eras, never met on the field.
But in T&F, that is a different story, the race was run in a time recorded for all to compare with or a distance, or a height. No dispute, sure there can be discussions around the conditions and training methods but the performance is recognized and comparable to today.
(2) Running allows for more participation than other sports. You are one of nine in baseball or you spend time sitting; one of five in basketball or spend time sitting, and so on. But when you run, even if you don't compete for the varsity, you still run. You still sweat. You still get from here to there...
Teenagers are just one segment of the population that needs this but they are not the only one that benefits from running!