I have only been running for a short time, a few miles every other day. I enjoy my time on the road, and am looking forward to my first 5 kilometers road race in a few weeks. To date, I don't feel much like a "runner", rather I feel like a novice in this sport, or perhaps merely a casual jogger. At what point can I consider myself a true "runner"? - Jog-ner or Run-ger?
The argument of "when a jogger becomes a runner" is one that has captured the passion of athletes for years. Some use simple definitions to separate the former from the latter. The late doctor George Sheehan once wrote that the only difference between a runner and a jogger was an entry form (for a road race). Others have successfully maintained that a runner is one who has a goal for finishing within a certain time, or in a certain place. Joggers, they contend, run merely for the health benefits of the activity.
So, within the lofty definitions used by our contemporaries, I'd say that you certainly have earned your place among the "true runners" of the world. But before we conclude this little gem of a "mailbag" response, let me give you something that you may find useful should you ever find yourself defending your inclusion in the club of running.
I happen to be a huge baseball fan. As a citizen of the United States, we North Americans love our professional sports but baseball we consider to be almost a religion. As such, the rules governing baseball are given the highest respect and reverence.
So, you will find it useful to note that, in Section 2.00 of the Major League Baseball rule book it states that "A runner is an offensive player who is advancing toward, touching, or returning to any base". It doesn't get any simpler than that.
If, when you lace up your running shoes, you have a plan to run a certain distance or for a certain amount of time, then you fit the description given in section 2.00 of the Major League Baseball rulebook. On the day you run your first 5 kilometers road race, you'll become an "offensive player advancing toward" the finish line.
And so, in accordance with the official rules set forth in section 2.00 of the Major League Baseball rulebook, you are hereby and for evermore fully deserving of the designation "runner".
Run long and taper.