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Don’t Call Me a Runner

by: Matt Magill

When I first started running it didn’t matter how fast I was or how far I traveled. In my mind, my dad owned the sport.

He’s run eight marathons, a dozen half marathons, and burned through hundreds of pairs of running shoes. Every morning without fail—5:00 AM, snow, sleet, scorching heat—my dad is running. Oh and here’s the best part: he’s been stuck in this pattern for more than thirty years. It’s as automatic as Earth’s orbit.

So I told people, “I’m not a runner,” because my dad was the runner.

Does this sound like anyone? It should! I know many of you say the same thing; I’ve heard you say it!

“I’m not really a runner.” “I only run once a week.” “I’ve only done a 5K.” “I’m just running to lose a little weight.”

What is going on? It’s like perpetual self-depreciation is an epidemic in the New-to-Fitness Community!

We have to get to the bottom of this outbreak of negativity! I’ve brainstormed some possible explanations of why runners keep selling themselves short.

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1) Maybe you’re not sure you like running yet. You’ve gone for a few short jogs, but you’re dubious about owning the grand and lofty title: RUNNER. (Sarcasm!)

2) Maybe you want to lower your fellow runner’s expectations. You’d hate to refer to yourself as “a runner” in front of someone and have them be like, “Oh cool Bro, so how many Ultra Marathons have you done—cause I totally done like *psssh* A THOUSAND.”

3) Maybe you know a Super Runner, a Runner 2.0, like my dad. You measure their accomplishments next to your own and . . . well . . . someone here is clearly a poser.

Well guess what, I’ve got a little “word magic” for you. Are you ready for this? I don’t think you’re ready for this.

Webster defines the word “runner” as “one that runs.” BOOM! Better call the fire department, because that is one smokin’ hot definition.

“One that runs.”

Yeah. You know what that means, right? If you run five minutes on a treadmill once per week, then you’re a runner. If the entirety of your running accomplishments is a single 5K, and it was really more of a run/walk anyway, then you’re a runner. If you only “run so you can eat,” and your recovery food is a Bacon Cheddar McChicken with a side of a second Bacon Cheddar McChicken, then you’re a runner.

“One that runs.” That’s what a runner is. So let’s stop adding things to that definition and take it for what it is. Stop selling yourself short. Stop making excuses. It’s time to own the title.

Say it with me now, “I am a runner.”

matt dad

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