Real Runners Vs Fake Runners

A topic I visit and revisit almost yearly is about “real runners” versus…well I’m not really sure.  I suppose for the sake of this post I’ll say “fake runners”.  It falls under the category of comparison really.  As human beings we compare ourselves to anything and anyone.  So and so is pretty or so and so is fast at running or athletics…I could never be like them.

Where do we draw the line at what a real runner versus a fake runner is?  Not every blog I read is a “running blog” or always training for something.  Some read my blog, some don’t.  Some are walking 30 minute miles and that makes them happy.  Some are elite runners and that makes them happy.

When you go to a road race, there is a pretty strong divide of people.  There are the people running for a time.  Maybe they are hoping to PR. They are hoping to run their personal best for the day. They log miles every day.  They have flashy or serious singlets.  They are the “real runners”.

Then there are people at the race looking to finish.  Maybe it’s their first road race ever.  Maybe it’s their first time running ever.  Maybe they could care less about a time.  Maybe they are looking to PR.  Maybe they are wearing blue jeans and a tshirt or maybe they are wearing a flashy singlet or cool outfit.  Guess what?  They are also real runners.

Everyone at that road race is a real runner.  Everyone running outdoors, on the treadmill, on trails, in the city…they are all real runners.

What bothers me most is that people wait for someone to say “hey you…you over there…you are a real runner!”  You don’t need to justify that to anyone.  If you like to run you are a runner.  If you like to run but don’t race you are a runner.  If you like to race but never train…you are a real runner.

If running brings you any remote happiness, then you are a runner.  You don’t need to justify to others why you are indeed a runner.  You don’t really need to justify any aspect of your life if it makes you happy but if you think you are a runner…then you are.  You can be running a 4 minute mile and be going to the Olympics or a 30 minute mile.  If running brings you happiness…you are a real runner.

Questions for you:

Are you a real runner?

What/When was your first road race?