The one thing that I love the most about running is that it does not discriminate.
Young or old, male or female, short or tall, fast or slow, fit or “fat”, etc. running is for EVERYONE.
This was made even more apparent to me at my race on Sunday.
I went into the race with a horrible mindset thinking I was going to stick out like a sore thumb because I do not look like a *typical* runner. I just had a baby so I’m carrying around a lot of extra weight and as much as I try to not let it bother me it still does. But the truth of the matter is there is no *typical* look that a runner should or must have.
If you run then you are a runner.
We do not have to fit into a cookie cutter mould of what a runner should look like. We are all out there for our own personal reasons. Some of us have been running longer and are out to PR. Some of us are just starting and merely want to finish. Some of us are in the middle looking for the next big challenge.
On Sunday I saw many different runners all of whom were inspiring.
There was the older couple who ran the half-marathon together.
There was the group of girlfriends who ran the 10K together and only went as fast as the slowest friend.
There was the father running with his eight or nine-year-old son. As they passed me for the second time I mentioned how awesome it was and that one day I hope my own kids will share my love of running.
There was the lady who just had shoulder surgey 8 weeks ago who was supposed to run the half-marathon but decided it was best to run the 10K instead of not running at all.
There were the two friends, dressed in pink, walking the half-marathon. The one woman was a larger lady who wasn’t letting her physical shape stop her from participating.
There was the lady I saw breastfeeding her baby on the grass after the race with her medal dangling over her cover-up.
There was my friend Leanne who despite rolling her ankle the weekend before got a PR in the half-marathon.
There was my friend Krista who has the best attitude towards running than anyone else I have ever met.
Then there was me who, in an attempt to make excuses for my own physical shape, made sure to let people know I just had a baby two-months ago. I didn’t do it to brag and realizse I was using it as a kind of defense mechanism. But in the process I discovered that no one was judging me negatively and I like to think I inspired a few people of my own that day the same way the above runners inspired me.
It’s difficult not to compare ourselves to other runners at times or to get caught-up in what we think a runner should be.
Because the beautiful thing about running is that, even though it is such an idividual sport, we are all in it together and the support can truly be amazing and inspiring.