I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this sentence or some variation of it (“I’m not a marathoner,” “I do like 3 miles, I’m not a runner,” “I’m not fast or anything,” the list goes on and on) while working the sales floor in one of our stores.
And it makes me upset every time I hear it! When did running become something that is an exclusive club where entrance is only given to people that meet some sort of arbitrary time or mileage standard?
The reality is, if you run, you’re a runner. A mile is a mile. And yes, there is something to be said for striving to get faster or run longer, to take on new challenges and try and do better than you did the day or the week before. For me at least, that is what makes running (or any type of exercise) great.
But something that is incredibly important to us is making sure that running is inviting, non-intimidating, and accessible to everyone that wants to make it part of their lives. This is what being a runner means to us:
Think about why you run.
You probably started with some sort of goal in mind (to get faster, to lose weight, to conquer a specific race or distance, or even just to get off the couch). Depending on where you were in life when you entered your running journey, running was something that you dreaded doing. Or maybe it was something you didn’t really like but just sort of tolerated.
And then at a certain point, running goes from meh to something that you might actually enjoy a little bit. It starts to become a regular part of your life. You feel stronger, your mind feels clearer. You’re able to stay out longer than you thought you could – and maybe that means you run for two miles; maybe that means you run for 22 miles. Maybe that means you run a mile and walk a mile, when before you couldn’t even run a lap around the track comfortably. Maybe that means that you finish your first 5K or 10K. Or maybe that means you PR a marathon. We could go on and on.
The important thing to remember, is that running is not about anyone but YOU. Are you fast? Awesome! Are you slow? That’s awesome too! Do you make an effort to get out there and run because it makes your life better?
You are a runner. Own it.
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