I was recently on Twitter and someone made a comment about feeling like a real runner after they achieved a certain time at the half-marathon. I had never run a half marathon that fast and I certainly consider myself a real runner.
This comment really made me think about all the pressure we put on ourselves to be “real” runners.
When I was teaching my friend to run, she also at some point looked at me and asked if she was a runner now. The reality is that if you can run whether it’s for a mile or for 100 miles, you’re a real runner!
There is no magical amount of kilometres or time that afterwards you become a real runner. I am not anymore of a runner than someone that runs 5ks and has no aspirations to go any further. And a certain PR doesn’t make you more of a runner than you were before.
Running is a community (a really welcoming one) and not an exclusive club. What makes you a runner is feeling like a runner and just getting out. There are no time or distance requirement associated with that!
After I first ran an ultramarathon, I was very hesitant to say that I ran ultras because I had only run one and felt like I really didn’t know much. Now that I’ve run a handful of them, I know more because each race is a learning experience but I still have lots to learn. But the fact remains that I was an ultra-runner after I crossed the finish line at that first ultra and I was a runner as soon as I started running.
Don’t discredit your achievements. Be proud of yourself that you’re out there running no matter how far or fast you can run!
Was there a point where you decided that you were a runner?