Recently, there’s been some chatter from large athletic companies that used exclusive language regarding the running community. I personally believe that the running community is one of the most inclusive and supportive communities there are. I’ve made so many friends through our shared passion for running and it doesn’t matter if you’re a fast or a slow runner. If you’re running, you’re part of the community (*and run-walking of course!).
After seeing such negative exclusive language being used in an online marketing campaign, I was upset. However, I was happy to see on Twitter the running community banding together and expressing what running means to them and how they proud they are to call themselves a runner.
Today I have for you a guest post by my friend Emily. A runner that I met on Twitter through our love for running. I asked her to share how she started with running, why she did it, and what it means to her. Enjoy.
I was never an athletic person growing up. My parents never signed me up for soccer or hockey. I preferred staying inside and doing art than being outside. My first experience with sports was in grade 6 when I joined the volleyball team at my elementary school. My school was small, about 100 kids JK-Grade8, so if you wanted to play a sport, you just did. There weren’t any tryouts or anything. I played volleyball and basketball up until I graduated in grade 8. I joined because my friends did. When I started high school I decided to try out for volleyball again because I thought it would be another way to make friends. I didn’t make it past the second round of cuts.
I moved to the suburbs of Toronto from Sudbury in 2010 shortly after graduating college and stayed there for about 2 years until I finally moved to Toronto. I struggled meeting friends and finding a community after I moved to Toronto and I turned to the internet. I met two local runners, Mandy and Laura, on twitter and from there started following more runners. And from everyone’s back and forth I noticed the one thing I was missing: community. I heard stories about cheering on friends at races and carpooling to out of town events. Everyone seemed so supportive and friendly. This is what I wanted.
So I downloaded the C25K app on my phone and went out for a run. That lasted for about a week. A few weeks after my failed miserable attempt I saw a flyer for a couch to marathon in eleven months program. I thought that this is exactly what I needed. A group of beginners just like me! I thought, this is exactly how I can make friends, so I signed up.
On our first meet-up we did a quick run down to the waterfront. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. I got home, opened mapmyrun to see how far I went: 1.2km. That was it. A measly 1.2km. But I stuck with it. Every Thursday I met up with my run group and went for a run. And right after every run I would immediately text Laura and Mandy, sounding like an excited little kid ‘TODAY AT RUN GROUP WE DID HILLS!’ They supported me every step of the way and put up with my constant questions.
One of my favorite moments ever is the end of my first 10k race. Laura and Mandy had circled back to meet me for their cooldowns. I was tired. I was cold. But I saw the finish line, so I turned to them and said ‘I’m going to spring the rest’, as I usually do with any run. All I remember is Laura and Mandy behind me cheering me on, and as I got closer to the finish line I saw Ben, my coach, and my running group on the sidelines jumping up and down. Everyone else must have thought we were insane.
This is why I love running. Even though I had finished a lot longer than the rest of them, they all waited for me. Running isn’t a competition between peers, it’s a celebration. We celebrate everyone’s run, whether it was a PB, a Boston qualifier, or just a quick 1k run around the block.
You can follow Emily on Twitter as @emiiilyt.
So tell me, what does running mean to you? Why did you start running? How do you celebrate your runs?