If someone asked you to describe a runner, what would you say? Would you describe what you imagine a runner to look like? Would you talk about how fast they can run? Maybe you would describe their attire. Perhaps you would describe someone you know that runs. Stop for a moment and think about it. What would your description be?
If someone had asked me this question 20 years ago, I think I would have said that a runner has to be tall, skinny, strong, fast, and able to run for miles. Keep in mind, 20 years ago I was just 15 years old. That might help explain my answer. At the time, the only running I was doing was for sports. The thought of actually just going out for a run did not exist in my universe. Understanding the heart and soul that makes a runner was something I had no grasp on at the time.
Here I am now, age 35, and my how times have changed! When I think about this question today, it’s very simple. A runner is someone who runs. Pretty basic right? In my world, if you run in any form or fashion, for whatever reason, you are a runner. Your size, shape, gender, race, sexual preference, religious beliefs, political viewpoints, and economic status don’t matter. Whether you run 0.25 miles or 50+ miles or whether you run a 7 minute mile or a 12 minute mile, it just doesn’t matter. Whether you’re pounding the pavement, circling the track, or running on your treadmill, I don’t care. What matters is that you are out there getting it done.
I am constantly reminded to never underestimate a fellow runner. Those that may not look the part to you are often the runners that will surprise you. I recall in my second sprint triathlon being passed just before the finish by a man that was easily three times my age, extremely tall, and very large. I remember thinking WOW! How did he just pass me? How did he even finish the race? But he did. In that moment and in so many since, I have learned that we all have it in us to fly. It comes down to heart, soul, sweat, want, dedication, drive, and belief to determine just how high. EVERYTHING else goes out the window.
The fantastic thing about us runners is that we are all so different, yet the same because we share a common love for the run. When I meet a fellow runner, we’ve got common ground. Differences we may have disappear when we head out for a run together. Respect is gained. The running community welcomes all. There is no application to complete and nobody who is going to tell you no. Everyone belongs and every runner is perfect in their own way.
I hope you enjoy “The Many Faces of a PR”. PR in this case being used in the traditional sense to mean “personal record”, but more importantly, to show what a “perfect runner” looks like. Thanks to everyone that participated!
Remember, EVERY runner is PERFECT as is. Be proud of YOU!