I have a friend who nearly gags every time she sees one of those “26.2″ or “13.1″ stickers on a car bumper, signifying that the driver has run a marathon or a half-marathon, respectively.
“Honestly, what’s the big deal?,” she says, as she gives the death glare to a sticker. “I could run that far too if I really wanted to. These people aren’t better than me! THEY’RE NOT BETTER THAN ME!!” Or something along those lines.
She sounds a little bitter, no? But maybe she has a bit of a point. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of running a marathon or half-marathon, or even a 10k (PRR, holler!) or 5k, especially if you’re new to running. But there is a subset of people who are Runners (with a capital R) and they don’t want you to forget it.
These are the people who start seemingly every sentence with, “Oh, well when I ran my first marathon…” and give you those, “It’s a running thing, you wouldn’t understand,” types of looks if you haven’t taken a sip of the running cult Kool-Aid. These are the people who tend to intimidate new runners and, unfortunately, deter those who want to start running from taking it up.
On the whole though, though, I think this is a small minority of runners. Almost all of the people I’ve met through running are laid-back and more than excited to welcome new runners into the fold. They run for fun or to improve their health, not because they want to brag or flaunt their marathon gear all over town.
And to those people, I say: Display your sticker proudly. There’s a fine line between being boastful and being proud, and no matter which way you cut it, running any distance — from a 5k for a beginner to a supermarathon for a veteran — is an accomplishment.
What do you think? Do you feel OK talking to your non-running friends about your running? Do you get annoyed with people who talk running all the time?