“Congratulations! You can now call yourself a runner!” Betty told me as I finished my run today, sending me into the final third of my 5k training program. Betty is the British woman who narrates my running workouts on the “Get Running” app I downloaded two months ago. I felt pretty good after she reassured me that I was actually a runner, but why now? Why wasn’t I already a runner? What makes a runner, a “runner”?
Granted I’ve only been really running consistently for the past two months. I ran in high school when I had to for varsity sports but I never ran for fun. Now that I’ve gotten back into running all I want to do is become really good at it but I know I have a ways to go. What I’ve come to realize however is there are so many different categories of runners- there are marathoners, sprinters, trail runners, distance runners, triathletes, joggers, beginners, professionals, recreational runners, and so many more. While these categories separate runners, they don’t mean that one category is better than the other.
In an article on Active.com, freelancer, Anne Kymalainen, writes, “To me, the true definition of a runner is not necessarily only that person with the thin legs and the short shorts running the sub-six-minute miles but a person who honestly feels a pull of sneakers to the road or trail.”
I cannot agree more. There is such an emphasis sometimes on speed and distance in running- runners who can run a sub-six-minute mile are “real” runners- but I think a “real” runner is anyone who can get out on the open road, pace themselves, be confident in their stride and feel good about the miles they ran, no matter how long it takes them.