(Photo Credit: Ben Lyne)
Google the phrase ‘motivational runner’ and you’ll encounter article after article on the subject of ‘running motivation’, but nothing about motivational runners.
Perhaps this is because Ben Lyne is the first to call himself by this term.
On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, Lyne makes it a habit to go running anywhere from four to eight miles a day while carrying a sign that includes the phrase ‘I believe in you’.
Originally from Australia, Lyne’s parents passed away when he was 3 and a half years old. He then went to New Jersey in the United States to live with friends of his parents until the age of ten.
It was around this time that Lyne moved to Utah where his older sister was already living. He and his other sisters were adopted by a family and ended up in Centerville.
As a young adult, Lyne served a mission in California for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, got married, and graduated from Weber State University.
He has lived in Eagle Mountain, Utah with his wife and kids since 2006.
When asked how he first got into running, Lyne said, “I was tricked into it” before explaining how he became friends with a neighbor who regularly ran multiple miles a day. One day, the same neighbor asked Lyne to go running with him. This was before the time of Apple Watches and Fitbits.
Lyne said, “At one point into the run, [I was] like, ‘Dude, it’s been, like, a while. Have we hit a mile yet so we can turn around?” The neighbor then informed Lyne that they had run two miles one way, double the amount they had originally planned.
“One thing about me is I like to get competitive in whatever I do, and so I thought, you know, I can beat him at this. I can get better than him. So then we started running together,” Lyne said.
Lyne works remotely for a tech company called Salesforce as a Senior Director of Technical Architecture. Nowadays, running is an important habit that gets him out of the house before he starts work.
When asked how he came up with the idea to hold an encouraging sign while running, Lyne said:
“I was out running and started getting the idea [that] when I’m passing people, I could cheer them up. ‘Cause I pass people sometimes and look at their faces and see that they’re not enjoying what they're doing. They’re probably driving to work, or driving the kids to school, or stuff like that; doing the daily grind, and it’s not super fun.”
Lyne began running with the sign in February 2022, but it took a few years to work up to the decision:
“You have doubts that creep in, just like anything, right? You have a really good idea and you’re like, ‘I’m just gonna look stupid’.”
But eventually, Lyne decided to try out his idea. After struggling with demoralizing feelings related to the COVID-19 pandemic and political tensions, he got the strong feeling that he needed to spread positivity.
Lyne believes that “Most people are pretty close to feeling better about themselves. They just need a little bit of external aid from somebody else.”
When asked how he decided on the phrase ‘I believe in you,’ Lyne said that it means the following:
“It's ‘I love and support you’. ‘I think you can do whatever it is you’re doing or struggling with. [...] I believe everybody can improve from where they are.”
Like any person, Lyne admits that he sometimes struggles with being excited to get out of bed and run. But overall, he believes that being a motivational runner has made him a more optimistic person.
“What I prioritize now—it’s not speed or distance. It’s, when I’m out running, how can I be most visible? [...] Where do I feel like I need to go be today?”
Since 2022, Lyne has run with his sign in places outside of Utah such as Ketchikan, Alaska; Madrid, Spain; and Paris, France.
Many people have reached out to Lyne to thank him for his encouragement.
Perhaps the best advice Lyne gives is the following:
“Just love people. We need more love. We need more understanding.”
To learn more about Ben Lyne and his message, find him on Instagram: @runnerguywithasign
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