The best songs about running are not just about the physical act itself. Many of the best songs about running have metaphors throughout about running the race of life while never giving up and never giving in. These songs include both classics and contemporary songs about the act of running.
- “Running Down a Dream." Released in 1989, this is one of the best songs about running ever made. Tom Petty sings the song with lyrics about running down a dream that never came to him. Petty also name drops Del Shannon, who recorded a song called “Runaway.”
- “Born to Run." Bruce Springsteen released this, one of the best songs about running, in 1975. The lyrics of the song include Springsteen saying it was time to get out while he is young because he was born to run. The song reached No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100.
- “The Distance." Cake released this song, one of the best songs about running, in 1996. The video shows a businessman suddenly running from his office building and running into the distance. The song is a metaphor about running yourself into the ground while ignoring what is most important.
- “Running with the Devil.” Released on Van Halen’s debut album, this remains one of the best songs about running. The song is about running nonstop into the future, never slowing down and never going back home. It was re-released on Van Halen’s “Best of Volume 1.”
- “Ready to Run." The Dixie Chicks released this, one of the best songs about running. The song talks about being ready to run away when people start to pressure marriage instead of giving in and getting married too soon. The song says they would rather run and have fun.
- “Runaway.” Del Shannon wrote this song, one of the best songs about running ever made. Released in 1961, the song is about a man who asks why his love ran away. The song was later covered in 1977 by Bonnie Raitt and, after Shannon’s suicide, by The Traveling Wilburys.
- “Run Like Hell.” Released on “The Wall,” this song remains one of the best songs about running of all time. The concept album tells the story of the main character Pink, who goes through life building walls around him. This song approached Pink hallucinating about being a dictator and sending a mob running to raid towns.
- “Running on Empty.” Jackson Browne released this song in 1978 and it remains one of the best songs about running. The song is a metaphor for life on the road, running from town to town until you are old and you realize you ran so far, you left life behind you.
- “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner." This is an Iron Maiden song based on the short story by Alan Sillitoe. The story follows a poor teenager in a prison school with little prospects for the future. He races as a long distance runner, with early release if he wins, but eventually rebels against authority once again.
- “Marathon." Rush released this song in 1985, one of the best songs about running ever made. The song is structured to be about the trials a person faces when running a marathon. It also is about achieving goals in life by overcoming odds and obstacles.
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