Do you keep your eye out for runners? At the gym? In your neighborhood?
Sure there’s the 6-day-a-week superstar up the street with the iPod and the sports bra. But there’s also the decades-ago college athlete who’s decided to get his butt back in shape 30 pounds later. And don’t forget the never-trained-in-my-life couch potatoes working their way towards their first 5k.
A runner used to mean a superfit twig with expensive shoes and a sunglass tan. Today’s runners come in all shapes and sizes.
There’s plenty of competition available if you’re racing to win. But for a lot of us out there pounding the pavement week after week, running is simply about getting stronger and feeling better. Racing is about finishing and a personal best is just that.
Do you know how many people finished marathons in the U.S. last year? That’s a top-of-the-heap accomplishment for many amateur runners – the kind of thing worthy of a “26.2” bumper sticker on the back of the car. In 2010, the marathon finish line was crossed by more than half a million.
Clearly something has changed since 1975 when that number was closer to 25,000.
We aren’t part of a new generation of superathletes that lives on sports drinks and cranks out marathons like they’re a walk in the park. We’ve just realized that running isn’t just for “runners” anymore. A runner is the person that puts one foot in front of the other until the workout is complete: no specialty gear, corporate sponsorships, or body type required.
So get out there, runners. Whatever your shape, size, or fitness level…have fun.