On a Facebook group I frequent, someone asked the question “Why did you start running?” Someone had responded with something along the lines about how people commented that she didn’t have a runner’s body and they were surprised she could run.
I responded “You run. You have a body. Therefore, you have a runner’s body.”
Now, I’m not trying to say this quote is original or anything. I’m sure someone’s said it before. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it’s true.
Sure, some people are built for more efficient running. You’re not going to see someone with my body type running in the Olympics. And no matter what I do, I’m never going to look like Shalane Flanigan or Kara Goucher. And that’s okay.
But just because someone doesn’t look like a runner doesn’t mean they aren’t a runner. I have seen people of all sizes at the starting lines of races. I admit, I’m guilty of some of the same prejudices. I look at someone and think “Okay, they’re probably paced somewhere around I am.” And I base that solely on their body type. Then my assumptions get turned on their ear when that person finishes the half marathon 30+ minutes before I do. So you can’t always tell much about a runner by how they look.
All of this makes me wonder how many people never show up to the starting line of a race because they look in the mirror and think they won’t fit in because they don’t look like a runner. Runners come in all shapes and sizes. My mom never thought she could complete a half marathon and then, after the Princess Half one year, she looked at all the women wearing medals and realized that she looked like a lot of them, and if they could so it, why couldn’t she? And now she has powerwalked at least six halfs (I lose count) at some impressive speeds, even outpacing some runners.
So maybe your body doesn’t look like you want it to. Maybe you don’t look like a runner. Maybe you will never look like a runner. But if you run, you are a runner, and you have a runner’s body. Be nice to it. Treat it well. And be proud of what it can do. Maybe you’re not the fastest one out there, but you’re out there just the same. And that’s what matters.