Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Race Entry = Runner?

"The difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry blank."
    Dr. George Sheehan

For all the wisdom that sprang from his miles on the road, this is just something that I can't see eye to eye on with Dr. Sheehan. I will respectively agree to disagree on this matter. 

To say that you move from a jogger to a runner just because you sign up for a race just doesn't fit. This all came into focus recently as I was interviewing a fellow runner for the podcast, and we talked about his training and attitudes/beliefs about racing. His times in training were quite fast and I have no doubt that if he signed up for a race that he would be in the position to not only win an Age Group award but possibly win a race as well. However, he refuses to race.

His main reason for not signing up is he knows what a slippery slope he would be on. Toeing the line and racing he explained would lead to an obsessive nature to try and better oneself and race as frequently as possible. That cycle would only lead to injury and time away from getting out there.

So how do you define a runner from a jogger? One explanation out there is that if you are moving slower than 5 mph or at a 12 min/mile pace than you are jogging. Well, my wife has run 2 marathons slower than that pace but if you go by Dr. George Sheehan's definition then she is a runner.

In my opinion, no matter the speed, if you are out there moving forward on a frequent basis then you are a runner. You don't need a race entry form to tell you that you have made it as a "runner".


MichaelRunner said...

What would Dr Sheehan say if I raced, but only Fatass events? There's no entry fee for those...

I'm with you on this one.

Stuart said...

Isn't it simply someone who runs and someone who races?

It always makes me smile when people say I "did" suchnsuch marathon...what does that mean.

You ran it or you raced it?

As for the slippery slope I am assuming there is pleasure in simply the run and no desire to see how fast...we all have our own motivations and demons!

Good post!