Slow runners deserve some damn respect

I‘ve always been a slow runner, you’ve probably heard me say that before. I’ve been slow at my skinniest, I’ve been slow at my fittest. In fact I don’t think I’ll ever get to a sub 10 minute mile unless I quit my job, divorce my husband and never see my friends again. I’d have to put in some serious woman power and fortunately I have a life to live and other goals I want to achieve. But do you know what, that’s ok. It’s ok to not hit a sub 10 minute mile and still call yourself a runner.

I’ve been slow at my skinniest, I’ve been slow at my fittest.

I think that quick runners have something about them that makes it easier for them. Now, now, stop your eye rolling and hear me out before you say I’m making excuses. My thinking is, it’s the same way that some people can sing, and some are tone deaf, some people can dance and some have two left feet, some people can write and some can’t string a sentence together. I think we can all run, it’s in our DNA to do it, but some of us can run quicker than others more easily. I mean, I’m not the only one to be thinking along these lines, there have been countless scientific studies on people’s athletic ability and whether you’re born with it and it’s natural selection or it’s just all down to hard work. So in that respect us slow runners deserve some respect.

It’s ok to not hit a sub 10 minute mile and still call yourself a runner.

Slow runners who put in the miles. Who put in the training and still sit at 12 minute miles yet stick it out, have grit.

Slow runners who run races with all their heart and cheer on others (even those who lap them) and come back of the pack, show determination.

Slow runners who enter races and take 1hr30mins for a 10K or 6hrs+ plus for a marathon, but do it with a smile on their face, are getting the most out of their entry fee.

Slow runners who run races and are on the course for twice as long as the leaders, who get to water stations to find the water has ran out or the volunteers have gone home, show bravery.

Slow runners who aren’t swayed by the elitist comments and conversation on Twitter and Instagram about what a ‘true runner’ is and what a ‘true runner’ does, know their worth isn’t determined by someone else’s beliefs.

Slow runners who forego Strava, Garmin and Fitbit and just run, because the magic of a good run can never be captured by numbers, show spirit.

Slow runners who own their body, no matter what shape or size or capability show honesty.

Slow runners who run to maintain their health, to show family and friends the joys of regular movement, to de-stress after work or to quieten their anxiety, show self-love.

Slow runners who are respectful to those who overtake them at races, Parkrun or in the street are just decent human beings.

Slow runners who take walking breaks during their Sunday long run are still runners.

Slow runners who have no intention of running a marathon or even half marathon are still runners.

What matters is that all runners, be it a 15 minute mile, or a 6 minute mile are still runners. But slow runners, who running doesn’t come easily to, who are scared to enter races as they don’t want to be last, who are overlooked by some in the running community as they aren’t “serious enough”, still get up at 6am in the morning, lace up their trainers and put in the miles.

What you think is slow might be someone’s dream. We all have our own goals, our own bodies and all know what we’re capable of.

Speed is all relative. And for slow runner, their 12 minute mile might be years of hard work. What you think is slow might be someone’s dream. We all have our own goals, our own bodies and all know what we’re capable of.

So I ask the running community to show us slow runners some damn respect.

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73 Comments

  1. Andrea

    This is so amazing! Thanks so much for putting this out there and making me feel good about being a fellow slow runner. I am just thankful and proud to be a runner and as long as I improve and feel good about I have done, then that is all that matters.

    Like

    1. Karen

      Really a beautiful article. You described me to a t! I enjoy running and I am nearly 50. I started at 31 to lose weight after having my first baby. It worked eventually. I have held onto it as long as possible and in every three year period I’ve had to take 6 months off due to injuries. But I return each time just for the fun the fitness and the enjoyment. I’m SLOW, but grateful for each run. I’m grateful to be alive and I’m much faster than everyone who didn’t go for a run that day or who stayed in bed. Thanks for your amazing work.

      Like

    1. Natosha

      This is so great! The moment I’m most proud of is finishing my first 50 mile race. It took 22 hours! But I ugly cried because I did it!

      Like

  2. Marianda

    I have always considered myself a jogger. And now, at 44, I am just always stupid happy I still get my weekly 10k in. It may be slow, but it always makes me feel like a bad ass when I am done. No matter the time, the effort, makes it all worth it. It makes you proud of yourself. That you still go it…. Here’s to the slow! Cause we still get up and go!

    Like

  3. brandisjourneyblog

    ANEN! THANK YOU for this article, I have actually stopped running because I ran a 10k and literally wa the last person to cross the finish line and I trained hard and even my girlfriend who did. O training left me, this article is very encouraging!

    Like

  4. Tamara

    This is SO on point. I have a FB group just for others like this! We are awesome and we are Back of the Pack. Its a closed group, but we welcome anyone who feels EXACTLY this!!!

    Like

    1. Jeffrey

      Thank you for writing this! After I trained to run the LA marathon I was down to 18 minute miles after starting at about 25 or so. After not having run for at least 10 years at all and almost 30 years since I served in the Marines, I started to train with the help and inspiration of my Coach the ultra marathon runner, the great – Ed Eddinghausen! I became friends with Ed at a public speaking club called Optimal Toastmasters. Ed challenged our group to join him in training for the LA marathon in 2016. I began training with1 block then 1/8 mile, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1 mile until I was up to about 12 miles per week. I ran my first 1/2 marathon in 3 hours and 28 minutes fi ishing 8th from last. Yay! Fast for way to the Friday before the marathon. I traveled to LA to get my tags the Friday before and drove up to a men’s retreat in the San Bernardino mountains. After a number of physical activities I decided to join a group guys on a leisurly aftenoon walk along. The riverbed. It was March and there was still a bit of water in the creek left over from the winter snow. About 20 minutes I stopped to take a breather, while my friend’s sons threw some rocks skipping them into the water. I took a step to sit down on a big rock. Immediately the rock collapsed under my weight and I fell what seemed upward because I can only remember hearing the creek, seeing blue sky and hearing a crack. Instantly, I was writhing in severe pain. A couple of guys in my party helped me to my feet but I could hardly walk without both of their support. I had someone drive my car home and I was taken home to rest. The pain did not subside so after 2 days I stopped being stubborn and drove to the emergency room Just about a mile from m house. After a cat scan I was diagnosed with 4 broken vertebrae L1-L4. It took several months to heal and I still have not taken up running again. I’m praying for the courage at 61 to get back at it, pun intended. You’re all an inspiration to me.

      Like

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