Will the real runner please stand up? Is it you? Is it him? Is it that woman over there?
I’m sure you’ve all said it at one point in time or at least thought it .. “oh, he’s not a REAL runner” .. but what is a real runner? is it the frequency in which they run? the number of miles? the speed? the clothes they wear? how often they race? IF they race? the distance of their races? what is it that makes a real runner, i wonder? and why have we become so arrogant that we can pass judgment on this classification of runner?
what is the true rite of passage to become that elusive “real runner”?
And what makes YOU a real runner that you can allow these thoughts cross your mind?
I was told once upon a time, before I ran my first marathon, that I was not a “real runner” until I had done a marathon. At that time, I had completed almost 100 races of all distances, except for that “marathon” and I was truly offended. I felt like all those miles I had logged, all those races I ran, meant nothing. My accomplishments to date had been crushed. Sure, I wasn’t super speedy but I felt like I had made some gains over the years.
It’s been a few years since that incident .. I’ve got a few marathons under my belt (and a few more white hairs on my head) but i sure don’t feel all that different. At least not in my mind. Definitely, a marathon is something different to experience and those who want to go forward in that direction, power to you. Those who don’t and want to stick with other distances, power to you too.
Being a “real” runner is just a state of mind. I love running with a passion and will continue to do it as long as my body will let me .. and then some. I think if you dare don those shoes, lace em up, and go out and plod .. left, right, left, right .. that’s all that matters. Who cares if you’re first, last, or even race at all? You’re out there … so run along, fellow runner, and log those miles.