A friend recently declared in public that she ‘loved running; but was not very good at it’.
This made me think. Define a good runner. What makes a good runner? Is it really just the domain of the elites, the club runners, the front of the pack runners, the podium placing runners?
I asked Alasdair and his response was this; ‘it’s someone who enjoys it and gets something out of it: it is not just about winning’.
That reminded me of a conversation with I had with a sweeper when running in France. He could not understand why, when in last place I was stopping to take photos. My take on it was, well, I am in last place so I may as well enjoy the ride and appreciate the countryside. He told me that he is fast and always focused on the speed and the pacing and then told me about a run in Holland. At the finish one of his slower friends was saying how lovely the windmill was. What windmill he asked? The one we ran around she replied. He mused that he probably misses out on part of the experience.
How often do we say; ‘oh I’m not very good’ or ‘I’m very slow’. How often, when someone asks; ‘how did you do’; do we mumble apologetically or caveat our reply with ‘oh, I’m not very good’ or ‘I’m very slow’. I do, frequently. The fact is that it does not matter, we did it.
Let’s consider this from a different perspective. How about: a good runner is someone who knows their capability and performs well within their capability; someone who sets challenges for themselves, sets goal and strives to achieve them, someone who is consistent. A good runner is someone who gets out there and runs, who takes that step over the threshold regardless, who participates and who gets pleasure from not only their achievements but also those of their peers. A good runner takes pleasure from all aspects of the activity and the wider experience even when they fail to cross the line or fail in their goal.
A good runner is someone whose life is enriched by the experience regardless of their speed, position in the field or final placing.
I think there may well be a few more good runners out there than many of us previously thought.