Friday, 18 March 2011

"Are you the runner?"

"Are you the runner?"

"Yes, I am."

I am. I am a runner.

I am you know. I feel safe to say, hand on heart, that I am a runner. Does that matter? Well, yes and no. Partially its about the journey I've started and will continue to take (sorry, if that line has you reaching for the sick-bag), but it's true.

I've jogged off and on (more 'of'' than 'on') in the past, without any real heart, dedication or goals, but also for many years thought I wanted to run a Marathon. Why? Because it seemed like a challenge and I wanted to be able to say I'd done it once (perhaps a long time ago). Why didn't I? Because it's a long way and when would I find the time always seemed worthwhile places to hide rather than walking the walk.

Funny how things change.

Watching the Brighton Marathon in April 2010 inspired me to sign up and "do" a Marathon. Why? a) because I wanted to be able to say I'd "done" it, b) I thought "with no disrespect, if you can I can", c) as I turned 37 I started to worry about getting old and wanted to stay "superhuman" a little bit longer in my kid's eyes.  But, the big one was probably so I could say I'd "done" it.

I have no intention now of "doing" a Marathon.

I'm about to run a Marathon.  My first Marathon in Brighton in April 2011.  I have no interest whatsoever in being able to say "I once did a marathon".  I intend to become a "Marathon Runner" and have dreams of times and places to achieve them. Hell, I've already signed up for my second Marathon and haven't even made by debut over 26.2 miles yet (I fully accept this may come back to haunt me and want bare a grudge if you say, "I told you so".)

Brighton on April 10th 2011 will just be the start (I hope). I've awakened something inside that I really do enjoy. I love the solitude of a long run, but equally it can be great to have a nice run and natter with friends, and as for seeing your kids at the side of a race as you bust your guts to run and run well, why wouldn't you want to see the look of their faces?  They say there's an addiction in running, and you know what they're right, and the best thing is it there for everyone if just have a quick peek to find it.

I started out on my long marathon journey last May dragging my sorry arse round the seafront for 3-miles and pushing myself to do a 5-miler at the weekend. Everyone has to start somewhere, and the threat/goal/fear/challenge of signing myself up for a 10km, Half and full Marathon gave me nowhere to hide.  That plus telling everyone I was going to run a Marathon, so pride could and would not let me back out and face the ridicule and behind-the-back sniggering.

With the Marathon 3-weeks away, I've moved out of jogging/dragging and into running.  I've pushed my half Marathon from 2hr14 down to 1hr49 in 3-months and really can't wait to run the Marathon. Don't get me wrong I have complete respect for the distance and the preparation I need to do, I'm not going to underestimate it, but I'm really enjoying the build up to it, and know I'll ultimately enjoy the day (even if my legs do start screaming after 20miles) and fully intend to run a lot more. The bug has got me in its grasp and I really hope it doesn't let go.

One of the things I love about running, is that I'm just running against me. I just trying to be a better runner than I was yesterday. If friends beat me then hat's off to them, because that's there run and this is mind, and while I may feel a tinge of envy at their spped I'll be glad for them. Likewise, if I'm faster than you it doesn't mean anything. Did you have a good run? Great, I will be really happy for you, because that's your run and you had a good one.

All I can do is try to be better than I was yesterday, and if friends do the same be that faster, on a par, or slower than me then I'll be overjoyed for each and everyone of them. And one of the truly great things in the last few months of running is friends, making new ones and reinforcing bonds with old friends, and no doubt non-running buddies thank the Lord that there's someone else now to listen to my "boring" running stories - so everyone's a winner.

As for me (and some may argue against this, which is fine and cool), the act of regularly going beyond 9-min miling made me feel wholeheartedly like a runner.  That's probably due to my own hang-ups, confidence issues than anything about anyone else, I'm not judging anyone but me and the maelstrom that exists in my head and what I needed to feel (don't hate me), but my first sub-2hr half made me think I'm jogging no more, I'm running and long may that continue.

So, after enduring all that god awful waffle, back to where we started...

..."Are you the runner?" she said in the school playground.
"Yes, I am".
"Great, I'll sponsor you, I think it's great what you are doing."

She'd read the exert in the school newsletter saying I was running the marathon for a charity focused on emergency disaster relief who are currently in Japan trying to help.

And she made me smile. Not a smug or conceited smile, but a smile because someone saw me as a runner.


  1. "All I can do is try to be better than I was yesterday, and if friends do the same be that faster, on a par, or slower than me then I'll be overjoyed for each and everyone of them."

    Id go a bit further, being better or faster is just one goal, and not all of us Runners share that same goal. So Im happy for the people around me if they are taking a step towards their own goals, whatever that may be.

    Still I know what you mean about that feeling that your now Running and no longer jogging.

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