Are you a Real Runner?

There is a topic I revisit almost every year, and that is: Are you a Real Runner?? 

Spoiler: there is no such thing as a fake runner. 

Are you a real runner?

So when you ask yourself: Am I a real runner, also ask yourself if you aren’t a “real runner” then what are you? A fake one? 

What makes someone a real runner? Is there a definition?  Are you a real runner? Today we will take a deep dive into figuring it out. 

Now that I have worked in the running industry for 7 years, the topic of “real running” is more relevant. Without fail, when I work on the floor of the running store, I’ll normally fit several customers who come in and say they are “only” training for a 5k. They begin comparing themselves to those professional, gazelle-like elite runners.

Or the person mentions they aren’t a serious runner because they “only” run every few days a week. Or even worse: They don’t consider themselves a REAL runner and don’t even have a real reason for it.

So here you are in a running store, picking out running shoes but aren’t a real runner.

What are you?

A robotic runner?

A fake runner?  

Where do we draw the line at what a real runner versus a fake runner is?  Just because you aren’t running marathons or training for a specific race doesn’t mean you aren’t a runner.

  • Some people are walking 30-minute miles, and that makes them happy.
  • Some people are elite runners, and that makes them happy.
  • Some people run when they feel like it and do other activities when they feel like it.

So what all of those people are real runners. 

Next time you are at a race, look around. At every race, there are several different types of racers with different goals.

People are running for a time.  Maybe they are hoping to PR or a break through in their fitness. Maybe they are hoping to run their personal best for the day. No one looks the same and no one has the same goals.

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 for PR.  Maybe they are wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt or 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 too.

Everyone in the running community, we are all real runners. There is no speed criteria, no distance or mileage criteria. There is nothing. It is a club that you can demand to join at any moment in your life. Running is inclusive not exclusive.

You don’t need to justify your membership 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 real runner.  You don’t really need to justify any aspect of your life if it makes you happy. You can run a 4-minute mile and go to the Olympics or a 30-minute mile.

So next time you ask, are you a real runner…remember: You are and you don’t need to justify it to anyone.

Love running? Subscribe to my weekly newsletter.

Questions for you:

Are you a real runner?

What/When was your first road race?