Eventiably in social conversations, the “what do you do?” question comes up. After the obligatory exchange of work responsibilities, how do you define yourself? What constitutes a runner versus a non-runner? It is amount the number of races run in the past? Is it based on your race pace? Or rather the frequency of runs?
I’ve witnessed a wide variety of responses: humble realists who run but recognize that others are more talented; braggarts – good and they know it; weekend warriors who need an identity; and “chompers” who need all the best gear.
Those who don’t run at all are quick to refute an accusation of running. “No! I hate running”, or “I haven’t run in years”, or “running is so boring”. Non- runners unabashedly own their identity, part-timers defend a misleading identity, and dedicated runners deflect an earned identity. Why?
As someone who has run since the age of seven, there is no disputing my love for running or commitment to the sport. When asked directly if I’m a runner, I still hesitate. Does running define who I am? Have I earned the reputation as a runner? I interprete this question like, are you a Buddhist? While many people subscribe to Buddhist philosophy, they don’t claim to be the 14th Daili Lama.