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What Defines a Runner?

I just recently laid to rest my trail runners.  Unfortunately, the smell, the worn-out hole, and missing sole was enough to put them to pasture. They were a good shoe and sturdy companion throughout this winter. I can say with sadness that they will be dearly missed.

However, in times passing life must move-on and it was time for me to purchase a new sneaker to be my running companion.

I looked high and low for the sneaker that would suit my crackling knees and fussy shins.

The moment I saw them, I knew they would be the perfect fit. The store clerk got my size and we began to talk about running as I tried them on wandered about the store.

“What do you think?”

“They feel great!”

“It’s more of a minimalist sneaker. It’s very popular! But you know someone told me if you wear Nike’s you can’t be considered a real runner.”

I looked at her with an eye roll, “Really?”

She replied, “Yes, there are lots of people out there that believe it. You would be surprised.”

I laughed at her, “Isn’t that a bit elitist?”


And with that I looked at the sneakers. I knew they were for me. 

But It got me thinking – what makes a runner? Who has the right to look at your shoes and declare if you are a runner or not?

It was obvious to me that I may not be the fastest runner, nor do I run long distances. But almost everyday I try to hit the pavement training for  my first 10km race at the end of May.

It is on my runs, I sweat, work-up a heart beat, pump my arms, and move my legs. In my books anyone who takes the time to set up a goal, reach a distance, and run is a runner. It’s not by your shoes, or your looks, but how you move your feet.

I can tell you I took my new  babies out for a test run through the trails, hopping over puddles, and running in stride. They were everything I would want in a sneaker! So if that eliminates me as a runner to others – so be it! My heart, lungs, and feet know that I run and that’s all that matters!

How would you define a runner? Do you think there is there elitism in every sport?

Categories: 10 km run 5 km run exercise fitness fun funny Humor Life motivation musings my life new balance nike random thoughts running running sneakers shoes sneakers sports thoughts

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Darcie Cameron is a RYT 200 who believes Yoga is a gift that is accessible to everyone with proper modifications, a patient smile and just taking the time to breathe. One of the greatest presents you will ever unwrap is when you connect your mind, body and spirit in perfect sync with your own breath. Connect with Darcie on Facebook

22 replies

  1. You’re not a real runner if you wear Nikes? WHAT?! Oh, man, I wish you could see me laughing right now. When I was a kid, I competed in Nikes, medaled in Nikes, and cried hard when I had to give them up. Not a runner? Wow. When I did my first 10k run ever this past March, I sure felt like a runner!

    I think Barefoot Running is changing the sport, and contributing to some of the elitism right now. I can see the appeal of a minimalist shoe, and covet Vibram KSO’s. But the bod has taken a bit of damage over the years, so they’re really not for me. I don’t think that makes me any less a runner, though!

    1. I’m in the same boat there is no way my body could handle barefoot running! I can feel my ankles cracking already :O But it’s funny how elitist some people are what defines them by their possessions. It’s funny most athletes that are winning medals are wearing Nikes…So I’m not sure where the snobbery comes from?

  2. People like to feel superior. They also like knowing they’re correct. In addition, we’re all big on labels. It must feel comforting to get up in the morning and think,
    “I’m a real runner. I have the right shoes. No one can tell me I’m not a real runner because, hey, look at the shoes.”

  3. People kill me! I love it.. your shoes make or break you as a runner. I wonder who started that rumor, another sneaker manufacturer per chance? Sadly, I think there is elitism everywhere… It is hard to escape it!

    1. LOL! maybe she was talking to a thirteen year old in a grown-ups body. But it is hilarious! I have no idea how people come up with these ideas! I guess marketing works it magic with alot of people…

  4. I wore Nikes when I ran a marathon. I considered myself a runner then. And although I don’t run anymore, I consider myself a retired runner. Now I swim, but even though I only swim 500m a day (which is a pittance compared to others) I still consider myself a swimmer. I think it is in the mindset, not the accessories.

    1. You are right! As long as you do it, enjoy it, then you are that runner/swimmer. I find it funny that people need to find identity through their accessories and not what they are doing. Do you think that we have just bought the marketer’s dream? Purchase without questioning but identifying the product with who we are?

  5. I think that if you want to call yourself a runner then that’s the key to being a runner, everyone else is entitled to their opinion. Therefore, in running, as everything else elitism is a fact of life. But if you love what you do, it makes it easier to concentrate on how you feel about yourself, instead of letting negative opinions get you down.
    For me it’s all about feeling energetic. Good Luck!

    1. I think as long as you run and enjoy it! That is all that matters! I remember how hard my first mile was and it gets easier with time. Just stick to the program and you will do great!

      I figure anyone who has time to look at what you are wearing – lacks confidence, judges others, and is obviously not running 😛 You can’t run and look at other peoples feet at the same time…

      1. I agree completely! Maybe it’s my age but style isn’t important when exercising. It is about feeling good, having fun, being comfortable in your body. And if you want to look a certain way, go for it.

      2. I think as we grow older we worry less about style. If you have a flare for style go for it and enjoy it! But at the same time, exercise is not a fashion contest, it’s about getting your heating beating, blood flowing, and looking like a hot mess 🙂

  6. If you’re running, and you’re feelin’ it – then forget about the shoe brand. What about that Olympic runner with the bare feet? If someone told me I wasn’t a hiker because I didn’t wear their favorite brand of boot, I’d be feeling like giving them a kick with my favorite boots (but I wouldn’t).

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