It seems like the running community needs something along the lines of what the Hacker Manifesto was meant to be, except for running. There are many articles describing running to runners but perhaps this can be a document to introduce non-runners to runners... or even a document for runners to cherish.
Hi, I am a runner. I may not run faster than you, but I might run a lot further. Or maybe I can run more consistently every morning or evening. Or maybe I just enjoy lacing up a pair of shoes, or running barefoot.
First, let's be clear. I don’t run away from things, I run towards them. I make goals, have dreams and connect with other runners because we have a fundamental understanding of each other. We like to run.
Why do I run? Well, why do you breath? Running is kinda like breathing. Yeah, I could stop for a while but I would start getting light headed and dizzy… kinda like before a marathon. You really don’t want to bother me then.
I, like so many others, used to not understand runners. In high school, I played soccer and I could run. Im college, I biked around quite a bit. It wasn’t until life forced me to discover new things that I finally found my inner runner. Once I did, I realized that running fast was fun. Running far was fun. Trying to do both was dangerous… and also fun. Ultimately, neither was fundamental to what I did on a daily basis but somehow running becomes a way of life.
I was lucky when I started; I met a group of runners who had run a long time. There were wise old owls to give sage advice and young yet dedicated runners to keep the energy up. Just about everyone could whup my butt except I found that it didn’t matter. We were all friends and supported each other in our goals. Were we running the same race? Cool! Let’s get together and keep each other motivated to do better. Running similar races? Awesome … let’s get together and help keep each other motivated. Completely different races? Let’s get together and keep each other motivated. Essentially, I walked into what was a hidden community that hides in plain sight and supports itself.
What defines a runner? For me, its someone who gets out there and pushes themselves to achieve their goals. It may start with running and seeing a 5k to accomplish, and then trying to beat their 5k time. Maybe it takes you twice as long to do a 5k as me, that means you are working for twice as long to do that and I respect that. Maybe you respect that I can do it twice as fast. Either way, you rock for doing it.
If you stop running, are you still a runner? Yeah, I think so. Running is a way of life, not an activity you do. I’ve met people who used to run and I can tell they are runners. They say they used to be runners but I know better. They still run, just not on their feet.
If you are a non-runner, that’s cool too. Please don’t ask why I run and I won’t ask why you don’t. Also, if you want to challenge me to a race, that’s awesome. Come and train with me and we’ll run whatever I’ve signed up for next.
See you out there!