NPR logo Recession Makes Us Faster

Recession Makes Us Faster

Hard to find a cheaper sport. Rebecca Neubert/CC BY-NC 2.0 hide caption

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Rebecca Neubert/CC BY-NC 2.0

Looking for a glimmer of hope in the recession? Maybe losing a job can help you become fitter and faster. That's the conclusion of a piece today in the Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd.) that points to improving marathon times across the country in 2009.

For example, there's been a 39 percent increase over last year in runners with times good enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Jobless marathoners have more time to get into peak condition. Casual runners who once struggled to squeeze in a run after a long workday can train on their own schedule. Elite athletes fresh out of college are training more, too, with job prospects so bleak.

What makes all this speedy running particularly notable is that more Americans are entering marathons, which means more novice runners, which should mean slower times.