Runners come in all varieties. Some love the 5K, others the marathon, or even the Ultra, which can be 100 miles and more. Many take to the water and hop on a bike as well, tackling different lengths of triathlon. I met a guy recently who’s preparing for a Double Ironman – 4.8 mile swim, 224 miles cycling, then a 52.4 mile run. Yeah, that’s nuts.
People new to the sport might succumb to comparisons, which can be discouraging. But those emotions are unfounded. I speak from experience: Being a little older and slower than most of my buddies, I feel no judgment – just mutual respect. We wave, smile, and utter encouragements as we pass by.
The spectrum of ability and experience is broad. Athlete A’s distance workout is Athlete B’s warmup. Recovery day for this person is that one’s speed training. We’re all OK with that, understanding that we share the same road, the same groan when the alarm clock rings, and the same elation at the finish line.
So if you’re contemplating that first trip to the local store for a pair of real running shoes, stand tall. Be proud. Then join a club and you’ll soon be in good company.
Sure, you’ll meet a few true warriors who will leave you in their dust. And once you get past the initial fitness curve there will be folk who can only dream of staying on your shoulder. None of that will matter, though, because we’re just a big community.
Runners accept each other right where they are. We know it’s all relative.