Being a running role model

This blog post has been brewing a little while and came to me again while completing ‘Run for the kids‘ this weekend. I never post my race times on my blog. This was very much a conscious decision early in my blogging adventures but it’s something I’ve really started to think about recently – why did I choose not to? And are those reasons actually valid?

If I’m being honest, I didn’t post my run times because many would consider them slow (or very slow or barely more than a walk) and I wasn’t confident enough to share them because of that. I already was my own harshest critic, telling myself I wasn’t a ‘real runner’ (whatever that is!) and felt like, if the world knew my times, they’d reinforce that idea.

While on the bus to the start of the Bellarine Sunset Run, I was in a discussion with a fellow runner and he asked my 5km PB. So I told him – 37.12. His reply – ‘Wow, that IS slow!’. I think that’s the first comment I’ve had from anyone about my times not being those that are considered good enough to be a ‘real runner’ and it was interesting that, other than wanting to call him very rude names about his insensitivity and general lack of tact, I really didn’t care. I guess that shows how far I’ve come. I AM a real runner because I run. I train 3-4 days a week (most weeks) and enter 8-10 events a year plus parkrun every Saturday. I train at the top of my personal limit, as other real runners do. As John Bingham said, you don’t need a licence to run and there is no test to pass. You’re a runner if you run, end of story.

Another reason I’ve come back to this is that I want to be a positive role model. While I’m passionate about running, I’m also passionate about teaching and spend my working hours with a fabulous bunch of Grade 4 students. I talk to them a lot about my running, particularly when we talk about setting and achieving goals. And I tell them about how I’ve come last at events and sometimes can’t enter certain events because I’m not fast enough. I also tell them how much I love it and how I never give up, regardless how fast or slow I am compared to others. I want them to see that adults don’t only do things they’re good at. And that my self esteem is not dependent on how I compare to others.

So, for all these reasons, I shall no longer be hiding my times or referring to myself as ‘slow’. It doesn’t mean I’ll be posting them regularly, just that I will share ones I’m proud of and not fear being shunned by the running community in doing so.

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6 thoughts on “Being a running role model

  1. That guy needs a quick kick up the “&$@”…. And I agree, if you run, then you are a runner. We need to get the negative out of our vocabulary… “ONLY” is another word us runners like to use.. Let’s get together and celebrate finish lines and not finish times, as we are only ever competing with ourselves… Happy Running

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    • You’re right – I corrected someone on the weekend who said she was ‘only’ running the 5km. No ‘only’ about it – whatever distance, whatever speed, it’s a personal achievement

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  2. I love that you wrote this post Gill, I can so relate to it as I’m trying to improve my 5km run times and sometimes feel that I’m only pretending at this running thing. Keep up the good work and ignore stupid people who make stupid comments 🙂

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