Rebecca Run’s: How To Be A “Serious” Runner (Or At Least Appear To Be One For Temporary Periods Of Time)

So this week was about embracing “serious” running. Being a “serious” runner. What does it take? What does it look like, sound like, feel like? Who can be a “serious” runner? Who can’t?

Here’s what my research has uncovered and how I have decided/how I have scrambled to measure up:

  • A “serious” runner actually “enjoys” running. I enjoy when the running is over. Does that count?
  • A “serious” runner runs on consecutive days and runs even when it hurts. I’m not sure running on consecutive days is possible for me. But it hurts whenever I run. So half points here.
  • A “serious” runner wears active wear. Ok, what is active wear you ask? Is it any ware that you wear when you’re active? Probably. So what I mean is that “serious” runners look good in their active wear. Like they’re going to be fast. I have active wear then, I guess. But do I look good? Possibly not. What I do know is that buying two-sizes-too-small tights in an effort to compress your flesh doesn’t work. Or it only works briefly. Then it splits from crotch to knee. True story.
  • A “serious” runner looks the part  i.e. looks “serious” about their craft. I achieve this by a) running when cars go past, b) by doing anything BUT running. And I make sure I do that in active wear i.e. “serious” stretching in my active wear (see photo – this is a particularly good example), having coffee “before my big run” in my active wear, just wearing my active wear all the time.
  • A “serious” runner has running books. I now have “The Ghost Runner” and “Running with the Kenyans” on my bedside stand. These are particularly pertinent as I am pale and I like travelling.

But actually, why does this oppressive, class-based system of running even exist? Why can’t we all be “serious” runners regardless of what we look like and how often and how far and how fast we run? Let’s rise up against this! Let’s deconstruct and redefine what “serious” running actually is! Yes, I’m wobbly when I run and I’m slow! Yes, it looks like I’m at risk of a cardiac event when I run. Yes, I’m half-hearted about the entire thing. But sometimes I run. So why can’t I be a “serious” runner with the rest of them?! How about we drop the “serious” out of it altogether and be equal? Let’s just all be runners together because we’re stronger together than apart (and I think it’s beneficial for our health). Let’s be a community where everyone can belong (and live, laugh, and love). And run occasionally of course.

That’s what I think anyway. And that happens to be a pretty fortunate conclusion to come to considering I only ran once this week. In saying that, it was pretty glorious – I was pretty glorious! 10km from Ōhope to Whakatāne and home. Took me 1 hour, 40 minutes which was a lot better than I expected. I held up ok too – ran more than I walked, and while I didn’t feel like turning around and doing it again (I’ll need to find the energy to run another 8km on top of this for the Toi’s Challenge in 6 weeks), I was pretty chuffed with my effort and made sure everyone knew about it. All day.

EDIT: As it turns out, after I wrote the previous I talked to a “serious” runner and he was like “what are you even talking about?” He said that I was the one that was giving runners labels. That running is just a continuum and we’re all on it. And that I need to just chill out. I’ve also reflected on the “serious” runners I’ve come across over the years and they’re actually the nicest people ever. So maybe the whole thing (the oppressive, class-based running system I spent this week fighting) was all in my head. BUT ALSO, maybe I’m a nice person like them. Because I’m a runner! (Woo! I said it!).

So there you go.

– Rebecca Mackay

Rebecca will be writing weekly as she continues her journey to achieving her goal of completing the 18km Tois Challenge. Check in next Tuesday for her next article.

Read Rebecca’s last article here:

Rebecca Run’s: Princess Highway

And all her previous articles are stored here:

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