There, I said it.
Even though I’ve been running pretty regularly for over nine years, when people have asked me, “Oh, you’re a runner?” I would always reply, without fail, “Runner, in quotes.” I had all sorts of reasons for referring to myself as a “runner” rather than a runner: I only run 5 or 6 times a month for between 20 and 30 miles, I run at an unremarkable pace of 8:30, my form’s not great, I’ve never placed very well in races, I don’t have a runner’s body…
But recently, I started to reconsider the quotes. After all, I’ve been running for over nine years. I’ve run almost 20 races (5k, 4-mile, 5-mile, 10k). I’ve run as far as ten miles in a training run. I can do a mile in about seven minutes, if I push it. I’ve run in bitterly cold temperatures and I’ve run in 120 degrees in the desert. Those are all good reasons to call myself a runner.
The big one, though, was pointed out to me by a stranger I was talking to at a Loudoun Veg tabling event a couple of months ago. When I gave her my typical “runner in quotes” line, she responded with, “Do you like running?” I said, “Yeah. I do.” She said, “Then you’re a runner.”
So, there you go. I’m a runner.