What Does It Mean to Be a Runner?

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If you ask 10 different people what it means to be a runner, you’ll get 10 different answers. When does a person cross that line between being a casual jogger and a runner? Some may say that a person has to run a race to be called a runner. But I know plenty of people who’ve been running for years and have never run a race, but there’s no denying that they’re runners. I’ve also talked to runners who have run races who’ve said that they still don’t consider themselves a runner. They’ll explain by saying that they think of runners as people who run really fast or have been running for many years.

The term runner for some people may be uncomfortable because, even though they run, they don’t actually like running – they just do it as a means to an end, like to lose weight. I can understand that better if I relate it to something that I do but don’t really enjoy. For example, I’ll go fishing with my dad, but I can’t say I enjoy (the fishing part) and I definitely wouldn’t call myself a fisherwoman. My goal is to spend time with my dad.

So, I suppose that to be a runner you have to run on a regular basis and enjoy running (most of the time, anyway). Beyond that, there really isn’t any strict definition or standard for what constitutes “running”. When you decide to call yourself a runner is a matter of personal preference. There’s no required time period, pace test, or mileage threshold you need to pass. If you’d rather think of yourself as a “fitness jogger” or “someone who runs” rather than a “runner,” that’s your call. But, when you least expect it, someone else might refer to you as a runner and — who knows — it might actually stick.

When did you first think of yourself as a runner?

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