Recently someone I work with asked me over dinner whether I’m a marathon runner. I didn’t know what to answer. Yes, I have run a couple of marathons. Yes, I have run some half marathons. But does that make me a marathon runner? In fact, what is a marathon runner? What is a runner?
Some speak of ‘jogging’, some prefer the term ‘running’, some just hit the road and don’t worry too much about what it’s called but most will have an opinion. It’s the eternal slippery definition game that covers shades of grey and all who move to exercise. Whether you run yourself or not doesn’t seem to stop you from having an opinion on what makes a runner.
When people now and again ask how my ‘jogging is going’ I hold on to my best behaviour and say that I don’t jog - I run. I am a runner.
Jogging has a soft, malleable feel: You can go for a jog, but you might not fancy it and decide to quit and not worry too much about it. If you were going for a run you would push through as best you could. You would be bothered about not completing your run.
A runner is someone who purposefully puts one foot in front of each other, however slow or fast that may be. It is physical movement. But there’s more to running than simply movement. To me being a runner represents strength, a strong-willed mind set and fulfilling of potential. Running in its very core contains determination and will power, the intent to push through when the going gets tough, something firm that allows you to test your body to its limits. Running is built from your desire to excel and you are built through your running. It’s intent made tangible and it’s powerful as hell.
I’m surprised by the amount of people I run with who don’t consider themselves runners, as if being a runner is something you have to earn or deserve or be named by others. I don’t care if you can only run 5 meters or if you gasp for air when you’re pushing through. If you say that you are running those 5 meters you are a runner. You. Are. A. Runner. Claim it, own it and make it yours when you’re out there being the best you can be.