This year marks the 10th anniversary of my life as a runner—my runiversary, if you will. It was late 2004 and early 2005 when I first laced up an old pair of sneakers unearthed from the depths of my closet and went for a run. Then, for some inexplicable reason, I did it again, and again, and again until it became a habit.
But I certainly didn’t call myself “a runner.” That didn’t happen for a few more years. But looking back, I wish I had staked a claim to the word “runner” a lot earlier.
I wrote about it in an essay at SHAPE.
More than 65 million Americans went for a run last year. More than 19 million ran a race. But many of those people are hesitant to call themselves “runners.” I would know—I used to be one of them…
Sound familiar? I hear “Oh, I’m not a real runner” constantly—at races, parties, in social media, and everywhere else I encounter people who regularly put one foot in front of the other.
So what exactly makes you a runner? The short answer is simple: If you run, you’re a runner.
But the long answer is much more complicated—and it has nothing to do with how fast you are… One three-hour marathoner I know who has qualified for the prestigious Boston Marathon—a feat only 10 percent of marathoners achieve—says he still has a hard time calling himself a runner. It’s an epidemic that extends far and wide, from the fastest to the slowest among us. Why?
You can read the whole thing at SHAPE.com.
What About You?
I take a liberal view: if you run, you’re a runner. Plain and simple. But I’d love to hear your thoughts. When did you start calling yourself a runner? When do you think you should have? What, exactly, makes someone a runner? Read the rest of this entry →