What makes you a runner?

At what point do you become a runner? When you’ve entered an event, when you’ve earned a medal, when you kit yourself out in professional gear, when you start covering longer distances… when can you officially class yourself as a runner? I think there’s certainly an interesting debate to be had here.

Some may say you don’t become a runner until your first event and i can sort of understand this. Events give you something to train towards, they record you a PB for that distance and it somewhat quantifies your running. Personally however i think it’s a lot simpler than that. There’s a lot of people who run for the enjoyment of just getting out, some also run for the therapeutic side. They may treat running as a personal release, a hobbby, and have no interest in the competition side of the sport, and that’s ok. Does it mean they are not a proper runner because they aren’t spending what can be a small fortune just for a t shirt and a bit of bling at the end? Of course not.

Personally i consider anyone a runner who simply runs outside on a regular basis. I’ve added regular into that comment because if i only went running once a year it wouldn’t seem fittinng to give myself that title. It would be the same as saying my hobby is sewing but i only pick up a needle and thread when my clothes need fixing… it’s not your hobby if you’re not doing the activity on somewhat of a regular basis.

For me i love doing events, getting the rewards (although i do prefer a t-shirt to a medal ha) and i like competing against my own times. These are nice extras however but wouldn’t consider them a necessary component of running.  As long as you enjoy running and put your pair of trainers when you can, then it doesn’t matter how far you can run, what speed you go or which course you do. You are a runner and should consider yourself that.

There is a debate about the difference between a jogger and runner but i don’t buy into that. I guess some might say if you go at slower paces and get out and about for the social aspect that’s more of a jog. I guess some might say if you do the events and competitions that is your running distinction. For me, i don’t think we need to worry about dictionary technicalities. There could be someone running sub 3 marathons for fun and have no interest in proving their capabilities in a run. Does that mean they should be seen as a jogger instead then? In my opinon absolutely not. I don’t think there should be a focus on creating a qualification criteria, instead i think we should be welcoming anyone into the community who wants to get out and about and explore the multitude of benefits that running has to offer.

I see a runner as anyone who runs outdoors regularly and willingly because they enjoy it. I’m not taking anything away from the equipment and the events because I think they are great elements but by no means do I think they should be indicative of a runners definition.

Now for the second part of this blog entry I wanted to quickly discuss an infuriating post I saw on Twitter. Someone commented after one of the marathon majors saying ‘you can’t say you’ve ran a marathon if you haven’t run all of it’ and I think this comment is a load of BS! You might be capable of running 40 miles without stopping but on the day anything can happen. If you need to stop, you stop. If you need to walk, you walk. Some days training goes out of the the window and you do what it takes to reach the finish line. Does it make you any less of a runner, no! As long as you’ve not rocked up to an event thinking you can wing it and you’ve tried and ran a proportion of it, I think you deserve to say you’ve ran it.

Running is about trying and putting in the effort and as long as you’re doing that you deserve the status!