Does Running a Marathon Make You a “Real” Runner? This Sprinter Says “No!”

I have not run a marathon and I probably never will. This doesn’t make me any less of a runner. In fact, I would argue that I am more of a runner that people who take a stroll through mile 19, while chatting on the phone, 6 hours in to the marathon (and yes I saw this during the Philadelphia Marathon).

This rant of mine was sparked by a recent incident at a local run club. Before taking off, the 30-some runners stood around and talked about goals for the year. When asked if anyone would share them, a teammate and I spoke up.

“I am going to run a 18:50 5k by June so that I can qualify for nationals,” I said.

“I want to run a 3:20 in the Boston Marathon,” says my teammate.

These are both serious, admirable goals that, I think, make us both serious runners. We both wake up early or stay up late to get that extra run in. We run speed workouts around the track together. But after this group run, the leader of the club gave my teammate a very nice freebie because “she’s a real runner with serious goals!”

This isn’t an isolated incident. For some reason, when you stick to shorter distances, people think you are less of a runner. Likewise, people are in awe of marathon finishers, even if they took a phone call during their “race”.

And to those people I would like to say: I would love to see you run one 6 minute mile, let alone 3 of them in a row.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Does Running a Marathon Make You a “Real” Runner? This Sprinter Says “No!”

  1. Jen

    I think if you run, you’re a runner. I would love to be able to run a 6, 7, 8 or even 9 minute mile times 1 or 3! Short or long – fast or slow running is running… Although I will say, tho I’m comparatively slower, my “slow” is still too fast for me to be able to have a phone conversation. There is no stroll in my roll.

    I am surprised to hear that anyone would think that sprinters (hello! Sprinters!) would not be considered as serious. An 18.50 5K? Probably not in my wildest dreams… amazing.

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