When Can You Call Yourself A Runner?

I’ve been running for less than a year.  I’m not fast but I love it. I’ve ran for fun and I’ve paid for races. I’ve completed training programs, subscribed to Runner’s World, participate in #runchat and #fitblog, and bought expensive running gear.  I talk about running with my family, my boyfriend and friends who don’t run. But am I a runner?  According to some, no.

As a whole, I think the running community is an extremely supportive and inviting place.  It’s been really strange to see a wave of negativity about who “true runners” are pop up in the last few weeks.  The first time I ever read a comment that people who take walk breaks are not real runners was when Kelly Gneiting ran the LA Marathon and set the Guinness World Record as the heaviest man to finish. I was appalled to see comments like these:

“A marathon is a race. 26.2 miles is a distance. You can’t call this bit of lumbering around Los Angeles a marathon any more than you can call a walk across the street and back a 100 meter dash.”

“Marathon times exceeding 5 hours should not be counted at all.”

There were people popping out of the woodwork dropping serious negativity all over this guy’s accomplishment.  It was definitely a sensationalized news story, but it upset me.  Why should his time matter?  He completed the race.  Kelly Gneiting wasn’t even the last place finisher. He ran about 1/3 of the race and he should be able to call himself a runner if he wants.  Jeff Galloway doesn’t seem to mind walk breaks and he’s an Olympian so why are readers of the LA times so angsty?

I put the negativity out of my mind until this weekend.  Many people saw a post over at Frayed Laces (a grad student, amateur triathlete, and a runner who ran Boston a few years ago) this weekend in which she bemoaned the existence of casual runners – or as she referred to them “chicken nugget runners”. Apparently, FL heard a piece on NPR about a TNT group training for the Nashville Country Music Marathon whose reward after running was chicken nuggets and this upset her.  She’s deleted the post, and her equally offensive follow up but it was still in my Google Reader so I can quote her accurately (screen shot here, here)

“what I want to scream out is “I train 20 hours a week! I push myself in training to the point of puking! You’re doing this once to cross something off your life goal list, and I train harder-harder-harder to get faster each year! I eat, sleep, breathe this sport!”So, are there too many marathon runners? No, there aren’t.  There are too many “chicken nuggets at the end!” marathon runners and not enough “eat, sleep, breathe” runners”

There were a lot of people who respectfully disagreed with her and pointed out that her time is the same regardless of other people’s times and reasons for running.  More surprisingly there were a lot of people who replied with comments that bashed casual runners (one comment that stands out in my memory was from a guy who said he didn’t understand why someone with a 3:30 marathon PR would be proud of their time since it was nearly 90 minutes above the world record. He said he’d be so embarrassed he wouldn’t tell anyone he ran if he was ever that slow).  While everyone didn’t share the same opinion, I was fascinated by people’s emotions on the topic.  It seemed like there was a decent contingent of runners who have strong opinions on whether casual and slower than Boston caliber runners should be walking around saying they’re a runner.  After her follow up post, more people commented in the form of disagreement than agreement and she ended up deleting both posts

I was kind of disturbed about this (I unfollowed FL on twitter and unlinked her blog from my blogroll) but I almost put this out of my mind until today, when Heather from Running with Sass had a 3 month old marathon recap’s comments spammed.  Some guy was thoroughly offended that she said she “ran” the Disney Marathon when she stopped to take pictures with the characters.

” I get a little mad when people say they’ve run a marathon and it took them over 6 hours. That’s not running a marathon. That is completing a marathon. Two COMPLETELY different things.”

Readers of Heather’s blog were obviously supportive and came to her defense but the guy came back and commented 3 more times arguing that there was no way she should be calling herself a runner.

So here’s my question: What do you think makes a runner?  Honestly, I’m really curious to hear opinions on this.  I’ll start the discussion with my opinion – if you identify yourself as a runner then you’re a runner.  If you leave for a workout with the intention of running, you plan for running, you try to run then who am I to judge the level of your workout?  I may not be fast but I am a runner. I think running is an individual sport, like golfing.  For example, my dad belongs to a golf course and plays regularly. He’s terrible but he has fun. He taught my brother to golf.  He owns clubs.  He’s a golfer. He’s not professional and he never says he is, but he’s certainly a golfer.

Please don’t hold back in the comments. If you disagree with me, please (respectfully) tell me why. 



Filed under exercise

45 responses to “When Can You Call Yourself A Runner?

  1. Um. Can I give the obvious? “A runner is one who runs.” If you run at all, you are a runner.

  2. This is a great post. I’m in the same boat as you…I just recently started running consistently…but I totally feel like a runner! I think being a runner means something different to everyone…just like healthy eating is different for everyone. We will have things in common, and we will have many differences, too! Anyone can be a runner if they want to be!

  3. I hate to kick this off with a boring comment, but I agree with you. Of course there are different levels of running and different levels of speed, skill, etc., but that doesn’t mean that “casual” runners and “fitness” runners aren’t “real” runners. Give me a break and get over yourselves. 😛

  4. Yup, if you run, you’re a runner! Whether it’s a quarter mile or 26.2, and whether you run that 26.2 in three hours or six. I’ve found a lot of non-runners (non-athletic people, actually) really underestimate how far 26.2 miles really is because they’re used to simply taking 15 minutes to drive that distance.

  5. neliah2507

    I absolutely love your blog post! I get very offended when people try to categorize what “makes” a runner. I read that lady’s link too (I think I found it off a link from Letsrun.com) and I remember feeling really ashamed there are people that negative and critical. I’ve only run one marathon in my life (and I like to consider myself a fairly competitive runner). But there are people out there who may have run a marathon 5mins, 10 mins, or maybe even 2+ hours slower than me, but they have completed dozens of them! Why should my one measly time mean that I am more of a runner than they are? I think a runner is simply someone who loves running for the sake of running and the fact it brings some sort of quality to their life. To me, that is the definition of a runner.

  6. Interesting post. For some reason it reminded me of the movie The Princess Bride when the Giant says, “My way isn’t very sportsman-like.” I would rather be a “non-runner” runner than an unsportsman-like “real” runner. If you miss out on the fun in the midst of the training, and pushing, and improving, then perhaps you have missed the point altogether. Maybe a long way to say that I agree with Victoria’s comment “A runner is one who runs.” Finally, I have equal admiration for the 6 hour + marathoners.

  7. I totally agree with Victoria – a runner is someone who runs, and I would add for fitness or… sanity! 😀

    I also think YOU are a runner! running is an action, it is not a time or what you eat after.

    I run because I love it. I have never trained in any sport to the point of puking, and even when I was on a tennis team and a ski team, I did not “eat sleep breathe” it.

    I played and taught tennis because I LOVED it, and I ski because I love it. Never have I thought about “being compared to” others who are out there on the courts or up there on the mountain, nor did I judge or look down on them. I did work on my skill and got better, but not so I could act elitist and put others down. If someone is having fun during their sport of choice? that’s great!

    I’d rather not be called a runner if that’s what they are like. 🙂 and really, unless you are up there winning or placing or a pro athlete, who cares anyway? 😀

  8. I agree with you 100% that running is an individual sport and when you have all intentions to run and you do, then you have every right to call yourself a runner. The example of your father playing golf is an awesome one, because he is not pro but at the end of the day he is still a golfer. Awesome point girl, awesome point.

    When I read FL’s blog post I was taken back by what she said, it made me think twice about what type of person she is. (my opinion)
    Because anyone who crosses any type of finish line in a race, 3.1 to a 26.2 to a 100 miler they all ran those same miles. No matter if you finish first or last you still cover those same exact miles, time should not matter.
    Once again in my opinion it should not matter to anyone if you ate chicken mcnuggets or a organic smoothie after you finish a run, a training run is a training run. It makes my bones shiver when people talk down on the running community or when they are a part of the running community; people should be happy that someone wants to cross off something on their bucket list and/or exercise to become a better person.

    I love, l-o-v-e this blog post girl!

  9. Obviously you know what I think. I wad shocked to see one of my greatest accomplishments in like bashed and lessened because I chose to have fun and not run for time. Runners come in all.shapes and sizes. What is fast for me May be slow to others But that doesn’t make my accomplishment any less Awesome for ME. So yes we are both Runners!!

  10. Awesome post Carly. I tried not to get involved in that whole thing when I saw those posts come out over the last few weeks, but I think its pretty disgraceful how anyone is judging anyone else’s times with running. FL’s original post says she throws up after her long runs. Umm? That is not good. Long runs during training are supposed to be at an easy pace, and you most certainly should NOT be throwing up after them. She should go eat a chicken nugget.

  11. What they said. Here I am, bragging about being able to run for 3 minutes twice today, something I haven’t done in 17+ years, and someone wants to tell me that I’m not really a runner? I will be running marathons one day and I will be finishing them. I really feel like anyone who discounts that fact, has forgotten whats its like on the “other side”.

  12. I think you are absolutely right that you are a runner. Anyone who runs is a runner. An athlete? maybe not? I don’t really know. I’ve often wondered when I’ll feel like I’m a runner even though I’ve run plenty of races including a marathon. I don’t think it really matters what qualifies someone as a runner. If you like to run, run. If you want to be a runner, run.

    I will say I didn’t really fully understand why everyone got so mad at FL. I think I took her post differently than most people. I left a comment on her post about how I’ve known people who sporadically, with no training, decided they wanted to “run” a marathon for fun and finish in 7 hours and try to tell me they understand what it’s like to be a marathoner. They don’t know what it’s like to go through 22 weeks of training and long run after long run to prepare. I guess I just didn’t think she was necessarily pinpointing people that are slower runners, or people that even necessarily eat chicken nuggets after running. I took it as she thought she was different than those people that don’t really put so much effort into their training, or don’t really try to their potential.

    Now, I don’t agree at all with the comment about not even trying if you can’t come in close to what the winners are. No one has a right to judge another persons pace. Regardless of pace I think completing a marathon is a huge accomplishment.

  13. This whole topic has bothered me all day especially when I read the comment over at running with sass, people start running or blogging OR maybe both for different reasons. I am pretty sure we all put disclaimers stating we are not professionals, RD, doctors, elite athletes, or whatever we are just normal people that blog about our daily trials and tribulations with a passion that happens to be running.

    The thing I love most about running is that it is a personal sport and you are competitive with yourself and me personally I am striving to better myself and reach new goals. Which helps me in many different ways than just running so I guess fine don’t classify me as a “elite athlete” but a runner yes. I think everyone that runs, whether it be from one bar to the next could call themselves a runner. WHO CARES? Those naysayers need to get a life or maybe a new passion and let us do our thing. Run.

  14. I saw the FL post and I raised my eyebrows a bit, but at the end of the day, hopefully no one cares what anyone else thinks of their accomplishment especially a stranger! Whether other people call me … a runner, jogger, or whatever – has no impact on me whatsoever. As Kanye says – no one man should have all that power – don’t let anyone steal your joy for your accomplishments!

  15. I totally, totally 100% agree with you. A runner is someone who identifies themself as a runner. End of story. Other ways to determine if you are a “real” runner?

    – You have completed a race and thought “I think I could have run that better/faster!”
    – You feel any sort of pain and think “I’ll run through it. If it still hurts in a few minutes/blocks/miles then maybe I’ll stop”
    – All you can do on a rainy/sunny/hot/cold/happy/sad day is look out the window and think “Man, I wish I could go on a run RIGHT NOW!”

    • I’m with ya. If you spend a few hours every day running or thinking about running, you’re a runner! I think it’s an identity thing. Sure, lots of people want to cross a marathon off their bucket list, and I’ll fully support those folks.

      I’ve (sadly) been on the DL for 9 weeks now, and will likely be on it for another month or more because of a medical mystery of a screwed up foot (medial cuneiform bone marrow edema which will not resolve and my docs are confused).

      Every morning I wake up and groan to myself that I can’t go for a run; I spend an hour or so reading sites like runnersworld.com or looking at various marathon/half marathon sites deciding which is on my ‘to do’ list; I’m currently sitting at my desk wearing a shirt that plainly says “RUN” on the front.

      When you incorporate running into your identity, and when you make running an integral part of your life (nah, I don’t want to go get beers tonight, Id rather do my 20mi run tomorrow morning!), then you’re a runner.

      I’m going to add a tau-taulogy type qualifier to my definition of a runner: Anyone who runs and who identifies them self as a runner – IS a runner.

  16. I’m so disappointed in the “I’m a runner and you’re not” attitudes out there. I’ve been lucky enough to have been surrounded by supportive runners in training or in races. One of the best experiences was the Disney Princess Half Marathon – where you are ENCOURAGED to stop and take pictures – where time doesn’t matter as much as the costumes – where everyone seemed to be looking out for everyone else. Also, another case in point – all the above commenters. I agree with all of them – you’re a runner if you think you’re a runner. I’m a runner and I take walk breaks on my runs.

    And in support of everyone above, I found on the Runner’s World website a forum for “You know you’re a runner when…” fairly true, and very funny. http://www.runnersworld.com/community/forums/runner-communities/women/runner-1

    My fave is “-you spend lots of time fantasizing about running clothes that might be just dressy enough for work” from poster jschwab.

  17. I just recently found your blog and wanted to say that I think this is a really interesting post (and topic). I agree with what you and everyone else has said. If you run, you are a runner! Speed has nothing to do with it. Like your golf analogy, you may not be winning races or an Olympic runner, but you are a runner nonetheless. Since running is an individual sport, I don’t see why it really matters to anyone what pace anyone else is running. Yes, some speedy runners are trying to win races, but the rest of us are just competing against ourselves. And our running certainly doesn’t prevent them from winning or negatively influence their race in anyway (unless we were to start in the front, but that’s a whole other issue…)!

  18. Amy

    Awesome post, Carly. I looked for your comment that got deleted but never saw it. I’m curious what you said, if you wouldn’t mind sharing?

    I think whether or not you’re a runner is all about the approach, not the time it takes to do something. If you’re running a marathon to check it off your bucket list but have no intention of incorporating running into your lifestyle, then no, I would say you’re not a runner. But, regardless of whether you race or not, or take walk breaks or not, if running is an important part of your lifestyle, then by all means you are a runner.

    The guy with the comment about the 330 marathon is just despicable. He’s entitled to feel embarrassed if he ran that because it’s slow for him, but to say that someone else should be embarrassed, even if a 330 is a huge PR, is just the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. And you know what, I would put money on the fact that the best runners in the world would think he’s an ass too and would be thrilled for someone who worked their butt of and PR’d.

    That’s one of my favorite things about running with CAR. The time you run matters a whole lot less than how that time/effort compares to what you’re capable of. People are psyched for each other based on meeting goals, even if your goal is equivalent to their easy day. You should come run with us!

    • Carly D. @ CarlyBananas

      I don’t have it word for word but it went something along the lines of “I’m really disappointed in this post. You said you started running because someone told you that ANYONE could run a marathon if they trained properly. How would you have felt if they said “ANYONE can run a marathon if they train properly & aren’t doing it as a one time thing”. Would it have scared you off? It’s a little hypocritical to judge others who are trying something for the first time when you’re so new to the sport. I’m curious to see how you’ll feel about people who don’t eat/live/breathe running when you’re no longer a grad student who sets her own hours. Many people don’t have the flexibility of picking their own hours and have responsibilities (like families/pets/work functions) other than themselves. ”
      But it was deleted as a personal attack before the post was taken down. I don’t think it was out of line but I think she was taking a lot of heat and did not want any negative comments showing.

      And once I get my heart in check and get my muscles recovered I would love to look into running groups. At this time last year, I never would have thought in a million years that running would make me so happy. Or that I’d be planning to do it for a long, long time. 🙂

      • I don’t think a comment like your (deleted and paraphrased above) comment is a personal attack at all – it’s a 100% valid point that people with full time jobs/spouses/kids/pets/etc don’t always have the freedom to “eat, breathe, sleep” any one thing in particular but have to make due in the free time they do have! In fact, that’s one reason I packed on the pounds the way I did in my late 20s – after getting married & having a new job with a longer commute, I didn’t have the same “me time” I did before and my health suffered. Just something lots of us (me included) take for granted when we’re still in school and/or working part time.

  19. Wow love all the comments on this post. I think running is an individual sport and there are different levels for everyone. I think there are bitter runner’s out there that are too competitive and full of themselves think that everyone should be as dedicated as they are. If you run, you are a runner, no matter how fast or slow you are and no matter if you take a walk break or take pictures on your run.

  20. Kali

    While I admit I get extremely annoyed with the “chicken nugget” runners and people who “run” any race before they’re physically capable to complete the distance, I guess after reading all these posts about it, all I can think is, does it really matter? As long as you go out there and do your best and are proud of what you accomplished then I think you can call yourself whatever you want. In 20 years, the only person that’s really going to care about your marathon times is yourself.

  21. I saw that FL post too – and wrote up a seriously long comment…and deleted it. I was SO mad at (what I interpreted to be) the tone of her post…and the tone of many commenters therein.

    The way I look at it is this: if you run – or try to run – or run walk – you are a runner. Fast or slow, you’re logging the same miles and working your ass off in the process.

    I’m one of those 6+ hour marathoners – I finished Disney in 2010 in 6hrs 30min. I gave it my all out there, and my “all” that day included a lot of walking. But I crossed that damn finish line after 26.2 miles – just like everyone else that finished. I trained my ass off for 6 months for that event with long runs every Saturday just like the “fast” runners that think they deserve to be out there more than the rest of us. It really infuriates me that the mere fact of being “slow” (or at least being perceived as slow) makes other people think they have the right to define whether our effort was good enough. All that matters to me is that MY EFFORT matched MY expectations for myself.

    As far as “watering down” or “diluting” certain elite events – I figure if the EVENT ORGANIZER didn’t want us “Chicken Nugget” runners out there, a time limit would be put on the course, or they’d require that you qualify for the event – a la Boston & other elite events. And if they didn’t want “slow” charity participants out there on the course, they would stop partnering with the damn charities or require them to meet the same qualification standards! If it’s “OK” for the event organizer, why isn’t it “OK” for these self-proclaimed “real runners” to participate with those of us that don’t “eat, breath and sleep this sport”???? Who on earth made them the judge?!

    And hell – the BEST part of this is that the true elite/professional runners, the ones actually winning the race purses at event after event, actually ENCOURAGE and speak highly of casual runners and run/walkers & runners that are giving it their all no matter how fast or slow we’re going! The fact that these non-elite amateur runners think they’re holier-than-thou just because they happen to run faster than the rest of us really infuriates me!

    All in all Carly – thanks for this post…and sorry for leaving a novel in your comments section. Guess I had a lot to get off my chest here!

  22. Kat

    Seriously the runners cliques and community can be one of the worst ones of any sport. If you run you’re a runner. I’m slow, I have to walk sometimes, I don’t run very far yet, I take month long breaks sometimes and that makes me a bad runner but I’m still a god damned runner or jogger if you want to be really picky about my speed.
    Nobody takes the dude that plays hockey on the weekends and tells him he’s not a hockey player because he’s not in the NHL.
    Like somebody else said, the real professional runners are on a whole seriously supportive of anyone that gets out there and moves their feet quickly for a period of time.
    I think all these people that are so fiercly defending their sport are just insecure and maybe don’t have any other redeeming qualities to cling to other than being a decent runner.

  23. Jen-Na

    When all is said and done…I know that I’m a runner. I don’t have to prove to anyone what my pace is or how many races I’ve actually “run” in order to say …I’m a runner. If someone thinks I’m not a runner because I walk and run then you can kiss my ass as I run or walk pass you.

  24. Ari

    hi, new reader and now a subscriber (man I’m finding a lot of great blogs today), made my way over from runningwithsass. I agree with the first comment… if you run, you’re a runner. I think speed and finishing time shouldn’t matter. You run, you’re a runner. What difference does it make otherwise?

    I get why some people get snippy if they’re training ridiculous hours but to say someone isn’t a runner is hurtful. Just because they can’t or don’t want to spend as much time training as you do shouldn’t diminish their accomplishments. And I think completing a marathon is awe-worthy, I can barely finish 5K right now!

  25. I agreed and disagreed with FL post. On one hand, I think she has a point about the people who don’t even train but go out and complete the distance in 7+ hours. I trained REALLY hard for my marathon and put in a lot of dedication and commitment and I’m really proud of my “slow” time of 4:45 because I KNOW I worked hard for that time. If I was someone who worked my ass off for a 7-hour time I would be proud of that too, it’s the people who don’t work hard and just ‘do it’ that are kind of annoying…

    But, at the same time, I think everyone should just get over it. Who really cares if one person trains 20 hours a week and another trains 5? Each person knows what they’ve done and haven’t done and running is a completely individual sport. Like some people said on FL post – maybe they don’t WANT to train for 20 hours per week because they find more enjoyment out of training/running for 5 hours a week – does that mean they can’t be proud of their marathon or half-marathon accomplishments?

    I can see the points on BOTH sides of the argument, but for the most part I think that if you run you are a runner – I don’t mean those who do a marathon on time and never run again. But the people who train for races, run throughout the week etc. – they are RUNNERS no matter how slow or fast!

  26. If you’re brave enough to cross the Start line and can dig deep enough to cross the Finish line then you’re a runner, even if you occasionally walked or stopped 15 seconds to snap a pic. Obviously, some people who “eat, breathe, sleep” running also have time to bash others they feel are beneath them. That’s a shame. It only points to their lack of self worth that they have to berate/belittle other’s accomplishments. We all shine, just differently. What fun would it be if it was all the same?

  27. neliah2507

    There is nothing easy about running or WALKING 26.2 miles. Period. I used to not even have the fitness to jog an entire lap around a soccer field when I was in HS. My body would have crapped out even trying to walk/jog a marathon. My heart goes out to anyone who decides they want to complete that distance, no matter if it’s walking, jogging, or running. Also, and this might be more technical than anyone cares to get about the matter….

    If you were to compare the winners of this years Boston Marathon, Emmanuel Mutai and Caroline Kilel to the “average” runner (and I define average as ANYONE who is not “elite” so this would include everyone who has been posting) it takes them a lot less energy to complete a marathon than it does most of us. Even to run a world record! For every mile that one of us is running, we are consuming more Oxygen/Liter of Blood that is being pumped to working muscles and also more glycogen. I don’t want to get overly detailed, but I wanted to prove that for ANY of us it’s truly an amazing accomplishment and something to be proud of.

  28. Liz

    I was pretty disappointed when I read FL’s post last week, because I have always found her blog to be inspirational. When I think of all that running has done for me and my life, I want as many people as possible to get that feeling – young, old, fast or slow. I don’t want it to be an exclusive club of people who can only run a certain speed. Even if some people’s running pace is equivalent to other’s fast walking pace, they are still runners!

  29. Runaddict

    I really didn’t like the post, and I was even more disturbed by her lack of apology when she clearly offended people. What is ironic is that she now how a post about some Hawaiian donut, and talks about using it to motivate herself for her rides. What an elitist hypocrite!

  30. Runaddict

    oops sorry for the typo I meant **has**
    I might as well add, I also didn’t like how she engaged in passive aggressive tweeting about the post, stating she didn’t want her blog to be a venue for “negative comments”. Well hello, you ass, you asked for it!!!!!!

  31. Joy

    I Love this post… I always tell people when they ask if I’m a runner I say I am either the worlds slowest runner or a happy jogger call me whatever you want but I’m having a great time out there… However if someone else told me I wasn’t a runner because I hadn’t hit x time or run y miles I’d probably have to argue the point…

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  33. I think I understand the idea that people want to differentiate between running for fun, fitness, etc. (recreation, I suppose), and being a runner in the competitive, athletic, elite sense. But I don’t think that those in the latter category can claim the title of “runner” as being entirely their own. honestly it all comes down to semantics and I think it’s a little silly that people get all worked up about wanting to not be lumped in with peopel they deem different than them… She seems to have claimed that she didn’t feel superior to them in any way, but it didn’t entirely come off that way, you know?

    So I guess my general feeling is: run when you want, talk about running when you want, and just do what you want to do and forget the labels. 🙂 (hard to do in this world, sadly).

    great post 🙂


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  35. Runaddict

    I also found this (deleted from lets run, this is a cached version). This is from the horses mouth herself. If there is any doubt she is an elist jerk, this should settle the matter. To her a 3:45 marathon is slow:

    Hi everyone. Frayed Laces here. I was just tipped off to this post. I can’t believe I’m actually condoning this nonsense by replying, but I’m not the kind of girl to shy away from confrontation. So here it goes.

    Yes, I am sponsored by Brooks and GU. Relax people, it’s a PRODUCT sponsorship. I’m a poor grad student, so I need all the help I can get.

    I never claimed to be fast, but for the record the 3:45 marathon was over 2 years ago, before I started triathlon and ultrarunning. I did my first 5k in July of 2007.

    This year I qualified for Kona and finished just over 11 hours. 4 weeks later I did a 10:46 in Florida. The HURT 100 was my first 100. 111 people started, only 32 finished (that’s a 29% success rate for those of you who are mathematically challenged). So yes, a 3:45 marathon PR is slow. But not representative of my current athletic ability.

    Many people wonder how the sponsorships work. It’s a combination of a lot of things: my blog and its readership, my twitter account, and the events I participate in. Oh, and also because I’M NICE. Generally, people like me.

    To those of you who had nice things to say above, thank you. To everyone else, I’m sorry that you feel upset, threatened, or whatever else it is you’re feeling that’s causing your comments. May I suggest you go for a run to release some pent-up feelings?

    That is all I have to say, and I won’t return. You may resume your hating.


    She thinks she’s nice….. lolol she is a total imature jerk.

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  37. guy

    I can see where FL is coming from. If you identify yourself as a runner, you should be somewhat serious about running. The “If you run, you’re a runner” line of thinking is somewhat lacking.

    For instance, last month I went to my niece’s birthday party. I bowled an 87 with the bumpers in the gutters. Can I say I’m a bowler?

    • Carly D. @ CarlyBananas

      I don’t think anyone meant if you run once you’re a runner 🙂 For example, the people in the article were training for a marathon. Whether they were training to run it fast or wanted to eat junk food after they were still dedicating a lot of time to running. Maybe they won’t identify as a runner later but for now it’s totally legit. Though really, if someone runs one race and wants to call himself a runner forever who cares?

  38. Pingback: My 7 Links | CarlyBananas

  39. Coming in late here, since I just found this post (thank you for your 7 links post!) but obviously I agree with you. I am a slow runner….my PR for a half marathon is 2:31….and yes, I am a RUNNER. There will always be someone faster than you, or be able to do more distance than you. Deena Kastor is an amazingly fast marathon runner. But she doesn’t run the distance that Dean Karnazes does (he is much slower, but can do 200 miles at once!) Is Deena not a real runner in relation to Dean? Of course not. Anyone who runs (regardless of distance, time and walk breaks) is a runner.

  40. Becca W.

    So I happened by your blog via DM, via 7 links and immediately subscribed. This post is wonderful. I have to say, even months after it was an active debate, reading the original post from FL and some of the additional negative comments about who can call themselves runners, my blood began to boil.
    And here’s the thing, I’m already hesitant to call myself a runner for all these reasons- I’m slow, I’m very new to the whole concept of running (for years I told myself I didn’t have the build to run), I will never “eat, breathe, sleep” this sport, hell right now I’m trying to get past asking myself most days why the hell I”m doing it?! But the truth is, I’ve set goals for myself that I want to accomplish, I want to make it a lifestyle. It will never consume me, but can always be a part of me.
    Amateur elitists like this FL person are nothing but a discouragment to beginners. Maybe duct tape should sponser her mouth.
    My point is, only YOU can decide if you identify yourself as a runner or not. No one should be able to grant you that title based on their own prejudices. I’m pretty sure those that do have forgotten what it was like to be a beginner.

  41. Pingback: Who is this CarlyBananas Girl Anyway? | CarlyBananas

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