April 10, 2012

Does she look like a runner?

When I first started training for my first half marathon, I got: “You’re a runner? Most runners I know look anorexic.”

When I picked up a packet for a half marathon and ran into a work acquaintance (who was picking up a race packet for a friend), she asked what race I was running. My response: “The half marathon.” Her response: “You can run the whole way?”

Me, finishing a half marathon, after running the whole way.

In the midst of training for my second half marathon, I mentioned at work that a woman in my running group was running a 100-mile race. The response: “Does she look like a runner?” 

After all of these incidents, I get the idea that people don’t think that I look like a runner. It just took three instances for it to really sink in. I’m a quick one. 

Apparently it's hard for some to believe, but this is me. Running.
But, if I don’t look like a runner (despite my finely tuned physique), who does? And, what do they look like? Am I even a runner?

Thinking on my running experiences and the races I’ve done, I came to my answer: a runner can be anyone. Runners are young, old, short, tall, skinny and fat. Runners come in all shapes and sizes, including my shape and size.

Do professional runners look a certain way? Yes. I’m not a professional runner. Do skinnier, fitter people run faster? Yes. But, I’m still running (albeit at a slower pace).

When I first started running, I was hesitant to call myself a runner. If anyone would ask if I was a runner, I’d say: “Oh, I try. I don’t know if I can be called a runner.”

And then I stumbled across this quote: “If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for 20 years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” I like this John Bingham guy (he’s an author and runner).

And I’ll take the word of another runner. And try to ignore those of the non-runners — like all of those folks that questioned my running abilities.

I'm a runner, yo.


  1. Heck yes you are a runner! This is what non-runners don't get, that runners come in all shapes, sizes and ages and to be a runner you don't have to win a race you just have to put on some running shoes and head out the door. Love the Bingham quote!

    1. Silly non-runners! I thought that was the coolest thing at my first race: seeing all the participants. Being a former non-runner, I had no idea that runners came in all shapes, sizes and ages either.

  2. You better believe you're a runner!! #thatisall :D


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