Sonam, one of the young ladies in my running group, posted something to our Whatsapp group yesterday. It was this quotation – above – from John Bingham, and it certainly resonated with our group.
We all started as total novices in September 2013, a group of women who had never run before, ages ranging from 13 to…well, to me, the old age pensioner in the group. That year, after 10 weeks, we all ran the 6km Great Delhi Run as part of ADHM (Airtel Delhi Half Marathon). Most of us are still running, still meeting, and we are all still friends. Some of us have graduated to half marathons, there are plans afoot to go for a full marathon in Mumbai in January 2016, so yes, I guess you could describe our sMiling Girls group as a group of runners.
Sonam’s post made me think about what, exactly, is a runner, and at what stage can one legitimately call oneself a runner?
I certainly didn’t describe myself thus for ages, imagining hoots of derision if I said “Oh, yes, actually, I’m a runner. I just ran a 6km race” and so for the longest time there was an awful lot of “Oh, I’m not really a runner, I’m just a beginner…very slow…just starting…still learning…” until one day, someone told me to stop parrying every question about running with a derogatory “Oh, I’m not really a runner” kind of comment.
So I stopped.
And, mentally, I became a runner.
A v-e-r-y slow one.
A very h-u-f-f-y and p-u-f-f-y runner.
But a runner nonetheless.
And that is because I run. No more no less.
It’s not really rocket science, is it? You run = you are a runner.
Does it matter how fast you run?
No, I don’t think so.
Does it matter whether you look like a runner?
(Yes, you’re right, I just included that question to make you angry and reply !!)
Does it matter how long it takes you to complete that 5km, 10km, HM…?
No, I don’t think so. Isn’t the whole point to compete, to enjoy, to test oneself?
So, please, won’t you share with us the moment that YOU became a runner?