What makes a ‘proper runner’?

I think I finally figured out today why I’ve to really been feeling the Edinburgh love and you know what? It’s a flipping stupid reason that boils down to me deciding that it’s a proper marathon for ‘proper runners’ with a proper cut-off time, a smaller field of ‘proper runners’ and did I mention, ‘proper runners’?

Which got me thinking, what is a ‘proper runner’ and why do I feel like a fraud when I stand with a group of other runners? 

For me, a proper runner is someone who:

  • Runs regularly
  • Goes to a running club
  • Enters races
  • Wears proper trainers from proper running shops
  • Waxes lyrical about body glide, shock absorbers, Strava, Garmin and other running tech
  • Runs fast

Well…I run regularly, go to a weekly running club, spend far too much entering races for a tech t-shirt and bling, currently own 5 pairs of running shoes, can bore you all rigid about the benefits of a good shock absorber, it’s the final one that stumps me. I don’t think I run fast at all, some days I can happily run sub 9 minute mile but that’s a rarity and I’m probably happier sitting around the 9:50/10 min mile mark and still I feel pants compared to everyone else.

I’m a member of a fab running community of female runners and can’t tell you how many times someone asks if their pace is fast enough and how many times I’ve said that it doesn’t matter about speed and that the most important thing is getting out there and running. So…why don’t I listen to my own advice?

I admitted my ‘not a proper runner’ revelation to an amazingly strong, powerful and wonderful friend of mine who runs marathons for fun, is one of the strongest, bravest women I know and is most definitely a ‘proper runner’ and she reminded me that everyone is a proper runner. And I’m a ‘proper runner’ just like everyone else.

And you know what?! She’s right, as I stand on that start line (or as close to the start line as the gold pen can be) I will be a proper runner amongst many, we’ve all trained hard, we’ve all sacrificed things, we’ve all lost toenails, prayed madly to the god of injury free running, worshipped at the altar of fuelling without unfortunate gastric issues and offered any sacrifice going to the high priestess of slightly cooler conditions on Sunday, we’re all petrified, determined and scared whilst being excited, overwhelmed and ready to run. And more importantly, we’re all ‘proper runners’.


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