Running has been a part of my life for a long time. I’ve been an active runner and running local 5k, 10k, and half marathons for 5 years. Prior to that, running was an on and off again part of my exercise routine for at least 10 years. I even ran track in high school a couple of years, albeit badly. Yet, for some reason I didn’t consider myself a runner until somewhat recently(last few years).
Even after I began to run local races I didn’t equate myself as a “runner”. If someone asked, or it came up in conversation, I’d say “I run but I’m not a runner”. For me, I think I had some idea in my head of what a runner was. Like I had to be able to run a certain distance or speed. Maybe I thought I had to look a certain way. Or perhaps, I worried that other people thought those things and wouldn’t take me seriously if I said I was a runner.
Over time as I ran more races, began reading about running, and met more runners I found out that this wasn’t the case. In fact, I learned that running as a sport, recreation, and competition is open to all types of runners. Those that fit the stereotype and those that don’t.
For me, I found that running is first a competition with oneself. As such, determining if your’re a runner is really up to you. There is no minimum speed, distance, age, or body weight required. It doesn’t matter if you’re training for a marathon or running to keep fit. Being a runner is about running and what you get out of it. You define it, determine your goals, and enjoy it however you want.
In addition to health benefits some of the things I get from running are community, confidence, pride, and a clear head.
Sure, I don’t run nearly as much as I’d like to right now. But, I’m thankful for being able to.