Very often at RUNClub I hear runners tell me their stories.
It is such an honour to share in people’s lives.
One of the stories I hear frequently from the runners I coach is what they hear from others. Some have said: “You couldn’t possibly be a runner if you take walk breaks,” “You couldn’t possibly be a runner if your body isn’t super skinny,” “You couldn’t possibly be a runner if you run an 11- minute mile,” “You couldn’t possibly be a runner if you run a three-hour half marathon.” That maybe, just maybe, you could be a “jogger,” but definitely not a runner. The word “jogger” sends shivers up my spine.
The late Dr. George Sheehan, beloved Runner’s World columnist and arguably the first running boom’s premier philosopher, once wrote that there was no difference between a so-called ‘jogger’ and a ‘runner.’ If you were motivated enough to train for and participate in an organized running event, then you were a runner. Anyone willing to train, commit and be part of the running community – no matter what pace — was a runner. Period. Kind of hard for anyone to argue with that logic and one I definitely agree with.
At Boogie (and at RUNClub) we are all runners. We all know why we call ourselves runners. Your reasons may be different from mine, but here’s why, we know we are runners:
WE ARE RUNNERS because our runs have names. We do LSD runs, tempo runs, recovery runs and fartlek runs. We hit the track, trail and road. All of our runs have purpose. Our runs are distinct and so are our bodies (all beautiful shapes and sizes).
WE ARE RUNNERS because our shoes are training equipment, not a fashion statement (mind you they are coming out with some pretty funky running shoes now). On the whole, we pick our shoes to fit our body mechanics, not because they are a pretty colour.
WE ARE RUNNERS because we don’t always care what we look like. Sometimes we show up in messy braids, a hat and whatever tech clothing we could find in the morning. Our clothing is technical and allows us to run better (and more comfortably). However, we do love to say fancy clothing words such as Gortex, wicking and icebreaker.
WE ARE RUNNERS because we put in the effort. We push ourselves out of our comfort zones and embrace the GREAT run days and the TOUGH run days. We know that not all of our runs will be strong; the runs where each footstep takes effort, our breathing is laboured and our thoughts challenge us to stop. These runs are a big part of our running journey.
WE ARE RUNNERS because we know we will always grow, change and evolve. With each running experience, memory, event and struggle, we know we will always want more from ourselves. We know that change WILL occur.
Movement is change.
Jo Berry is co-ordinator of The Daily News Boogie and executive director of the Boogie the Bridge Society.