a “Real” Runner


Hiya! First of all, a HUGE HUGE THANK YOU to my awesome readers. Yesterday was quite drama filled here on RWS! In case you missed out, I got a random rude comment on my WDW marathon recap part 2 post. Comment #20. The outpouring of support and love from you all was awesome. I received tweets, Facebook comments, text messages, e-mails, etc. along with all the blog comments and felt so loved by you all! It meant so much to me, more than you will know. This is what the running/healthy living community should be!


I was shocked when I read it, how and WHY would someone want to diminish my accomplishment? To make themselves feel better? faster? Like more of a runner? It just makes no sense. Just because you think something is true, doesn’t mean you should say it.

I think it’s so cool how God works. Not long ago I wrote this post. Do you remember it? I talked about mean commenters, or “the not so nice” and I talked about having a game plan for how to deal with them if the situation should arise on your blog. I am SO glad I wrote that post. It caused me to create a game plan, and it helped me to not let one sad person rock my world and ruin my self esteem. I was taken aback when I first read it, yes of course, but I honestly laughed about it and felt sorry for the commenter. Making a young girl feel bad about her greatest accomplishment is so laughable!  Due to my game plan and confidence in myself, I was able to sleep soundly last night. Not to mention, it drove my blog traffic up, awesome!


In case you are too lazy to click on the link, I will break it down for you. I was accused of not being a “real runner” because my marathon time was too slow. hhhmmm….But…what about my half marathon times? my 5k times? They are ok I think….so do I get to be called a “runner” again? it totally makes no sense.

The commenter suggested “real runners run 75-100+ miles a month. Ok…So now we are suggested you are ONLY a runner IF you run long distances? I’m sure the Olympic champions in the 100 meters would have some beef with that. Just because they excel in a shorter distance means they are not runners? it’s SO comical to even consider!


Through all of this I was never able to pin down the “stipulations” for being a runner. But, in true blog drama fashion, I felt like it really needed to be addressed because there have been many blogger attacks lately dealing with fast times, slow times, what makes you a runner, etc.

I believe I 100% am a runner. I train, I race, I enjoy running, no matter my times, MPW etc. I run, therefore, I am a runner, and darn proud of it!

So I would like to hear from you. What makes YOU a runner? Is it your gear? your PR’s? your MPW? Your desire to be more healthy? How many races you have run? Please share your thoughts, I am so curious!

*Don’t forget to enter my giveaway!

*Did you see the article digital running posted on me?

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47 Responses to a “Real” Runner

  1. 1
    rachel says:

    I was talking with Bryan about your comment last night. Bryan was saying as he talks with runners everyday he asks them what their goals for running are. Everyone has a different goal in mind, wether its to win, to lose weight, stay fit, push themselves, or to be able to eat/drink whatever they want. Just because someone has a different goal doesn’t make them less of a runner. They just have a different goal in mind and a different mindset. Sometimes people can’t understand people with a different mindset… and that applies to everything in life.

    • 1.1
      Heather says:

      great comment Rach! You are so right about goals. One day i will run a marathon for time, but this one was just for fun! I think anyone who is trying to get healthy is a rockstar anyway, regardless of speed!

  2. 2

    I just want to give yu a big hug. That was a horrible mean thing said to you. I amost can’t even believe it. I think people like that have a void in their own life that thy try to fill by putting others down. It’s sad really. Finishingamarathon in a set time doesn’t make you a “runner.” I think “runners” enjoy hitting the road no matter what the stopwatch says. Keep moving – that’s the point right? :)

  3. 3
    Holley @ Smart Snacking says:

    I am a runner because I run… No matter how fast or slow :) I run for for me. I run to feel good. An I run for my sanity!! Even though I haven’t run since the end of feb due to an injury, I still consider myself a runner! I’ll be back at it soon!

  4. 4
    Ann Marie says:

    Heather, I was really bothered by the comments by Connor. I thought about it all through my (only) 3.1 mile run this morning in the pouring rain. Oh and it took me nearly 40 mins because I run intervals and take walking breaks. But ya know what….I think I am a runner not only that but I am a cancer survivor who got off the coach 4 yrs ago lost a boat load of weight and have completed 12 half marathons! So maybe he won’t think I am a runner but I do!

  5. 5

    I’m so proud of how you handled yourself with that terrible commenter. It made me so upset to see someone coming and talking bad about something you’re proud of. I love reading your blog and hearing about your running. I’m a pretty slow runner (if that guy thought you were slow he’d be horrified to see my times!) but it’s something I love to do. I plan around doing it. It’s obviously my hobby and not my profession but I think I can say I’m a runner as much as I can say I work in an office. I know you saw the post I did last night about the same topic: http://carlybananas.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/when-can-you-call-yourself-a-runner/ but I wanted to leave a link for your readers. There are a lot of great comments.

  6. 6
    Elizabeth says:

    As someone who has also run a 6hr marathon, I just wanted to let you know I’ve got your back (and not just because I was likely behind you at the Disney Marathon haha), girl! The beauty of running is that we all get to make our own definitions– we run at our own pace, with our own goals, and our own plans. Though I think it’s challenging to not get caught up in the comparison trap (especially on race day), ultimately if you feel like a runner and you laced up your shoes and hit the road (or treadmill or trail), you’re a runner. We should never lessen another’s experience by trying to take that label away. :) (P.S. Holy novel… sorry about that!)

  7. 7
    Jessica says:

    Girl you are a 100% runner! Own it, wear it and remember it every time someone nasty like that comes along in life. It does not matter if someone runs a sub-3 or sub-6 marathon, both of those people still covered 26.2 miles. Many things can happen along those miles to cause you to slow down your pace, sometimes they are out of your control.

    I LOVE how you stopped along the course to take pictures, because those are pictures you will cherish forever! You really took in your first marathon experience to the full extent and that is awesome. Not every runner truly enjoys their runs or races, but it looks like you did and you still do!

    Rock on runner!

  8. 8
    Crystal says:

    Wow, I missed the drama, but just went to catch up. That was just way uncalled for. If you can’t say something nice… I mean, constructive criticism is great, but that just was not constructive! You are a runner to me, chica! I may “run” 5k’s and “wog” halfs, but that does not make me a non-runner. I don’t think you have to “run” a whole race to say that you “ran” it. Walk breaks are vital to my races. They make me faster! I have no desire to ever “run” a whole race without stopping. That won’t get me to a PR, and I know that about myself. Everyone is different. YOU are awesome! Besides…it was DISNEY. You have to allow at least an extra hour for all the pics and stuff… 😉

    To answer your questions. I think my gear makes me a runner (hahaha)…kidding, but you know, we wear RUNNING skirts…hahaha. It is really just getting off your bootay and getting out there that makes you a runner! My 5k PR is sub 30 min, half PR is 2:23 and, full is 6:09 (disney…lol). Whenever people talk about me and my “running”, they say that I am a runner. Not a walker, not a jogger, but a runner. I lunch run at work, and people are always so impressed. lol. Someone said once (it may have been Jen) that if you jog, you actually run, so there. :)

  9. 9
    Sarah says:

    Hey all I have to say is that I ran that marathon right along with you this year. I stopped at as many characters as I could because when else are you going to be able to see them while doing what you love RUNNING!! It was my first marathon and I was all caught up in times and pacing and all that running thinking until I talked to my boyfriend the night before when I was so worried I couldn’t sleep. He said just have fun! It isn’t the olympics, I am not running to win a medal, win money or anything like that. I am running to have fun, say I accomplished a huge marathon in my life. People that think running is always about times and beating someone aren’t enjoying things when they are there to be fun a.k.a Chip and Dale with a camera person!. It is all negative to them and you don’t want to get pulled down by someone who thinks that way. You are awesome and I love reading your blog!!

  10. 10
    Rachel says:

    I am reading Kara Goucher’s book and she says what makes you a runner is when you can say it. Doesn’t matter if you never run a race, if you are a person who loves to run, then you are a runner! You are supposed to stop at Disney races- that’s why they have the characters there.

  11. 11
    Ari says:

    Hello, new reader and now subscriber… made my way here from My Marathon Diaries (I think that’s the name). I love that you addressed this topic. I’ve only recently started running and have yet to refer to myself as a runner (I prefer the term wanna-be runner) but still, I can run 5k, I’m about to run my first 5k soon… I should think that makes me a runner. Maybe jog is the more accurate term since about 99% of the time I’m jogging but I do run at the end… besides, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s problem if someone wants to call themselves a runner or not! You are and that’s what matters. :)

  12. 12
    Bridget M says:

    I have an unrelated question. This is my first time visiting your blog. I saw that you wear your brace above your knee on your thigh. I wear mine right below the knee cap. Is there any reason that you chose to do yours higher up? I am just wondering because I get knee pain after a few miles, and if that is a better (or more advised) placement, then it sure would be helpful to know! Congrats on the marathon- good job!

    • 12.1
      Heather says:

      no unrelated questions allowed. JUST KIDDING! It depends on what is causing your knee pain. Mine is caused by my IT band, so i wear my IT band strap above my knee to put pressure on the band and hopefully “cut off” the pain before it can get to my knee. It works till about mile 8 of a half marathon, then you feel like you may die. :)

      • 12.1.1

        To add to this, if you are wearing a strap below your knee, it is most likely due to patella tendinitis. I know from experience! :) If you’re struggling with IT Band issues, it most likely won’t help – or at least it didn’t for me – because it isn’t helping the IT Band, but the tendon below the knee. (Can you tell my PT and doctor taught me all about the anatomy of your leg and knee during my injury?)

  13. 13
    Bethany says:

    in my 14 years of running i have met 2 runners that i do not like. Connor would make 3. There is someone in my track club exactly like that, he wastes his life worrying about who is a real runner and who is not. the only reason anyone would feel like that is if they feel threatened. No one cares that he ran a 5k but more people care that other people in his club run marathons, ultras etc. He’s not getting the attention he needs so that’s how he drums up attention. I’m sorry but i was cracking up when i was reading what Connor wrote, not because it hurt your feelings, because that makes me really sad, but just because he is so stupid. Like what, did you really just say that buddy? I’d rather run a 6 hour marathon and be a respectable person than run a 3+ hour marathon and still be a douche. Sorry, i know you are postitive and you aren’t looking for people to bash this guy, i just wanted to throw in my 2 cents. I love runners of all abilities and distances. I don’t care how slow or fast people are, in many ways, running a 6+ hour marathon is more impressive than a “3+ hour” marathon (whatever 3+ even means, i think it means 3:59:59 but he was trying to make himself sound faster to you to be intimidating, further proving he has issues). Thats why i love Disney races, they are so supportive and encouraging. I’d take the Disney Marathon over the Boston Marathon any day! Keep being awesome and keep running! big hugs to you!!

    • 13.1
      Heather says:

      oh Bethany lol! You make me laugh girl. Disney races are awesome aren’t they? sorry you have to deal with someone like that in your running club!

  14. 14

    I was a little disappointed by how you responded to the comment. He had an opinion and made his point. Why engage him and call attention to it repeatedly on twitter and dedicate a blog post rehashing the incident?

    Obviously it’s your blog and you can do what you’d like (I’m not trying to change your mind). I just wanted to say that I was surprised you reacted the way you did.

    • 14.1
      Heather says:

      Mainly, I felt like it was a good discussion topic that has been floating around the blog world lately, and wanted opinions on what/who is considered a runner.
      Running my marathon was one of if not my greatest accomplishment in life, and I wanted to defend something I worked very very hard for. Not to mention, last week I just did a post on dealing with negativity on your blog and having a game plan, so i was showing how important it is to know how you personally want to deal with negativity on your blog. Thank you for your opinion, but I think I handeled it very well. I could have said a lot worse to him, but I chose not to.

      • 14.1.1

        It certainly devolved into something much uglier, and the commenter’s true colors shined. I do think the discussion of runner identity is a good post topic with increased participation in races. Frayed Laces stirred up some similar opinions earlier this week (last week? it all blurs together..) with her runner vs. bucket list distinction post. I think the large commercialized events (WDW or events with TNT) seem to aggravate a subset of the running population who consider themselves purists. What I can’t understand is why that guy was looking into the WDW marathon if he was so against “jogging”.

        Perhaps I would react differently on my own blog if I personally was being attacked. I guess I just see some commenters as trolls whose only goal is to rile people up.

          Heather says:

          You brought up SUCH a good point that I was totally thinking about earlier today! I was thinking to myself “dude, if you think you are so awesome and only want run these elitist times and races, then Disney is NOT something you need to be looking into!” LOL! I have heard the TNT comments before but haven’t read frayed laces post but heard about it yesterday in my comments. I think its so sad. We should celebrate the fact that people are wanting to get healthier and get out there and run.

          Def. It is so hard to be rational when it’s a personal attack. I really did try to be as graceful as possible and get to thebottom of it/what his “facts” were!

  15. 15
    Angie says:

    Hi Heather,
    I just read the rude comment on your last post.. and wow! That was kind of a low blow, absolutely! I just wanted to say that I think you handled the situation with such great class! I was very impressed with your response to Mr. Rude! Congrats on your marathon!!!!! :) I hope you didn’t let the comment get to you too much and it’s great to see how many readers are behind you on this! Love reading your blog as always, sorry my comment is a little late! :-)

  16. 16

    I responded on the original post but clearly this person feels the need to make these comments because he is insecure and wants to feel distinguished or recognized as different and better then otehrs. Its pathetic, it really is. I would feel sorry for him but it aggravated me too much to allow for empathy. Some people have a lot of nerve!!

  17. 17
    Sarah says:

    Heather, don’t EVEN consider anything that commenter said to be true. What an a**. I have spoken to MULTIPLE professional runners (Bart Yasso to name one) and when I told him I didn’t feel like a “real” runner b/c of how slow I am he said this : “Are you running your pace? Are your feet moving? Then you’re a runner”. I may never complete a marathon. I may never even finish a half marathon in under 2.5 hours, but I am a runner. Kudos for you as well for not being a jerk back to them, I think I would have been WAY more harsh. :)

  18. 18
    Sarah S says:

    I think most people have a specific form that they know means they are running. Getting your butt outside or to the treadmill to run makes you a runner. Yes, there are people who walk faster than I run, but I’m still running, so I’m a runner. And so are you.

  19. 19

    The lifestyle/training and goals are what make you a runner..

    I went back and skimmed through the comments.. I would agree that there is a difference between “completing” a marathon and running one but there is a huge difference when it comes to the WDW marathon where you are in it for the experience and not the time verses other marathons where they arent encouraging picture stops/etc…. but I would most certainly say that those who just are in it to “complete” the distance and dont continue to run afterwards arent runners.. But its still an awesome accomplishment!!!

    Im a VERY slower runner.. but Im still a runner..

  20. 20
    Kirsten says:

    Holy rudeness Batman! It is so easy to say hurtful things and be mean when you can hide behind a computer screen. My goodness. I enjoy your blog. I hope you know how many of us look forward to reading each and every day.
    All that being said, what makes me a runner? A super slow, still having to take walking breaks runner? The fact that I get out there daily and do it. That I enjoy it. That I want to get better, stronger & be able to run for longer periods. I have done 6 or so 5k’s, and one 1/2 marathon but it wasn’t until just last weekend that I ran/walked one. I have walked each previous race that I have completed. My goal this year is to run/walk the Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2 here in Savannah, GA.
    According to that moron, I’ll never be a true runner but I like to think that I am getting closer with each workout.

  21. 21

    I commented to the rude comment as well, but still wanted to address your question!

    I think you are runner if you lace up your shoes and hit the road! It doesn’t matter what your pace is, how many miles you log – just that you are out there running! Now, I will admit to there being an ‘elite runner’ category where pace and miles logged would make a difference, however, a runner is a runner! I’m proud when I get out and run – and am proud to call anyone who does the same a runner!

  22. 22
    Jen says:

    You know how I feel!
    I believe you’re a runner if you run one step. It seriously doesn’t matter how far or fast you go, or how often you do it, but you’re a runner. I haven’t run in 18 days and there’s a chance I may not run again til next year. But I still call myself a runner!

  23. 23
    Lisa says:

    WOW. I started running last summer. I did the couch to 5k program. About 3 weeks in had major knee pain which derailed me for a couple weeks. Took me about 12 weeks to complete this 8 week program. Have run four 5k’s and two of them took short walk breaks. Run less than 10 miles per week right now and by most standards I run reeeeaaalllll slloooooooow at about 11:45-ish min/mile. Plan on running Disney Princess half 2012. Since starting running I’ve lost 15 pounds and just feel so good about myself. Am I a real runner? Heck yes!

  24. 24
    Michelle says:

    Rude commenters suck! It goes with the old saying that if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it at all.
    I actually think that all the back and forth with him was pointless and you ended up just giving him attention that he didn’t deserve.

  25. 25
    Mary Lou says:

    Heather, as someone who isn’t too far off the couch part of the Couch-to-5k program, I don’t always post on here. However, I just wanted to say that you are a runner (of course) and a huge inspiration to me. Not only have you texted me or checked in on me and my struggles to get in shape, but you have fulfilled so many of your own goals. I know his comment won’t derail you, but it makes me angry that so many people (behind computer screens/masks) say mean things to cut other people down. Many people who start running (like me) might give up if they know they have to hit a certain speed to officially run. There is no way I’d ever be leading the pack. Jogging is slow running. All joggers are runners. And anyone who runs a marathon is a hero to me, no matter if he or she came in last. Love you!

    • 25.1
      Heather says:

      thanks so much girl. I am so proud of all that you have been accomplishing! It takes some seroois willpower! Thanks for the encouragement.

  26. 26
    Krista says:

    Oh, boo to Connor. What a party-pooper!! Seriously, if he wants to come rain on your parade then maybe he would be better off spending his time resting up for his next sub-3 hour marathon. I’m so glad that he is super fast because that means if I ever have the bad luck to run a race with him then he will be gone from the post-race party when I get there! Life’s about the journey — go enjoy yours and don’t give him another thought. He is mean and grumpy.

  27. 27

    A real runner is someone who is sincerely happy about each and every achievement of a fellow runner, whether it be much faster or much slower than his/her own achievements. Because a real runner just can’t help sharing the joy of running :) .

  28. 28
    Rach says:

    I completely missed all of that, but I just got caught up after reading all of the comments. Wow. Really… wow. I will never understand why anyone puts anyone else down. I am so sorry you had to deal with that girl. The fact that you RAN a marathon is amazing to me. I was proud of myself for completing a 5k last year and that is so so so much smaller than a marathon, haha! But seriously, you rock. Never forget it. :)

  29. 29
    Zaneta says:

    Girl, you are a FREAKIN AWESOME RUNNER!!! :)

    I have yet to get a mean or nasty comment on my blog, I dont know if I would’ve handled it as nicely as you lol… I def dont think I would’ve told them to have a nice day lol 😉

    Keep on running and doing what you do, how you do it because alot of us, your bloggy friends, think you’re awesome! :)

  30. 30
    Liz says:

    I’m sad that someone would feel the need to post such a negative comment on your post. You ran a marathon and nothing/no one should diminish that proud feeling!
    I personally think anyone who runs (even if their definition of running is someone else’s definition of power walking) is a runner. Period. We shouldn’t be elitists, and if anything we should welcome all runners to the community with open arms.

  31. 31
    Trish says:

    I posted this on the original post, but will post it again here.

    The best response I have ever heard to the suggestion that people who don’t run hard enough, fast enough, or well enough to be a “true” runner comes from none other than Jeff Galloway himself in a recent Disunplugged podcast – (link here: http://www.wdwinfo.com/podcast/roundtable215-011911-jeffgalloway.mp3 )

    When asked to respond to the criticism that we have made the Marathon “too easy”, and that now “everyone” and “anyone” can run a marathon, Galloway answers such ridiculous statements swiftly and effectively. He says that there are always going to be “elite snobs” who don’t think that others are good enough or fast enough to be deserving of the title of “runner” unless they can run at a certain time (which happens to be their time or faster). The overall effect of training for and then running a full marathon changes peoples’ lives for the better. And, If we have made it easier for people to do that, then according to Galloway…..hallelujah!

  32. 32

    […] out On the Road Again, Running with Sass and My Marathon Diaries they were some of the posts that inspired me! […]

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