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The Rules To Become A Runner

Got a question for you -- Are you a runner?

If you said yes, congratulations.  If you said no, was it because you put off filling out the 20 page application with 3 personal references, 4 professional references?   Or, were you waiting on your score from the RAT (you know, the Running Acceptance Test - a runners version of the SAT) to see if you scored high enough.  Or, wait, I know, you waited to call yourself an official runner because you dreaded the panel interview - whew - that is a tough one.  Or maybe, it was the last part, the ethics review, psychological exam and background check?  That one holds alot of us up.

You know none of this exists.   There are no official rules, groups, oaths, tests to All_the_no_rules becoming a runner.  But it seems even without these things, the scale we hold ourselves to before we declare we are a "runner" is 100 times more difficult.   Many runners, myself included, has created all kinds of crazy rules, constraints and tests that we need to pass before we consider ourself officially in this exclusive organization.  For me, I told myself that I wasn't a runner until I could run 4 miles without stopping, ran something close to a 10 minute mile without dying, and completed a real race.   Where did I get these rules from?  Who knows!

So why do we make it so hard?  Why all the rules?  Running is a quirky little sport with a close to 100 million or so runners.   But even with such great numbers, it is an intensely personal sport.  For as many runners that exist, there are as many rules and tests to join the club.   

So, I am going out on a limb and make this a little easier for everyone.   To all the people wondering if they are a runner - here is a simple test:

At least once in a while, do you engage in a motion that resembles running?

If your answer is yes, congratulations - you are officially a runner.   

There is no minimum speed, weight limits, required distance, set number of goals, specific form, mandatory gadgets, a set path/trail/race, or experience level. If you have ever ran and if you run, you are a member in high standing.   As a member, you have permission to skip a day, week or months of running.  You may also run fast or slow and somedays agree that walking just feels the best.  You can run in races or shun them entirely.  You can run in your grubbiest Tshirt or the best gear - it just doesn't matter. 

No_rules_sign_2 There is only rule in running. It is that you run YOUR run.  You run YOUR race.  You run  to YOUR goals.  Not goals or running based on things you make up in your head from what other people accomplish, but goals that feel good to you.

So, dump the doubt about if you are a runner or could be a runner.   If you are reading this, I have no doubt you are an official member of a the very exclusive community of runners.  Enjoy your membership!

PS...If you are still waiting on your membership certificate and password in the mail, the secret code to get in is "I am a runner."   

Photo of No sign by Vicki & Chuck Rogers

Photo of Edison quote by nonetfirst

(Yes, there are a ton of links in this post - but there are tons of people out there finding out "yes - I am a runner"!)


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Love the blog, and appreciate this post. I'll be reading regularly.

Danielle in Iowa

Even after running a marathon, I still hesitated to call myself a runner. Oh the mind games we play with ourselves!


Interesting blog ... I never felt comfortable saying I was a runner until after my second half marathon. Now it's nice to say I'm training for my first marathon, but I have to do it first ... and for that reason alone, it make it tough to answer the question, "Am I a runner?"

Database Diva

I had been running for several years, and had completed several marathons and half marathons, but I didn't count them because I always ended up walking at least a mile of every race. I finally decided I was a runner after an 18 mile training run, with a few water stops, but no significant amount of walking. Even now when I proudly proclaim myself a runner, I worry that someone will shout my 5K time and call me a fraud ;) Great post!

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So, dump the doubt about if you are a runner or could be a runner. If you are reading this, I have no doubt you are an official member of a the very exclusive community of runners. Enjoy your membership!

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