Are you a Real Runner?

There is a topic I revisit almost every year…

Are You a Real runner

The topic of “real runners” versus…well I’m not really sure. 

What makes someone a real runner? What is a “real runner” anyways? 

Now that I have worked in the running industry for 2 years, it’s a topic that is more and more relevant to me.  I was thinking about this topic at work the other day.

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.

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

So here you are in a running store, picking out running shoes to run in but aren’t a real runner. What are you? A robotic runner? A fake runner?   Both of those don’t exist.

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 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?

At every single road race, there are several different types of racers with different goals.

There are people running for a time.  Maybe they are hoping to PR or a break in their fitness. Maybe they are hoping to run their personal best for the day. These so-called serious runners 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 not.  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.

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.

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.  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?