What makes a runner?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A few weeks ago, I was teaching sports writing in my journalism class. This is probably my least favorite thing to teach in journalism because one, I feel like I don't know NEARLY enough about sports to effectively teach about writing them, and two, students don't seem to love writing sports (perhaps they're responding to my less than enthusiastic lessons?). Regardless, I try to encourage students to write sports features, because features are something I can wrap my brain around. 

So, off my students went to find sports information. They quickly landed on the totally weird. Wife carrying, cheese racing, and chess boxing were just a few of the favorites. But one of my students asked if she could write her feature about what makes an athlete. She brought up the argument of cheerleaders (ARE cheerleaders athletes?) and marching band (those students are doing strenuous work, darnit!) and whether or not those types of things count as school athletics. 

As she was writing, I did my own searching. What makes an athlete? What makes something a sport? After my very serious research that lasted all of fifteen minutes, I came to the conclusion that there really is no conclusion on the topic. It seems the term athlete and sport can be used in a lot of different ways. 

Tonight, one my Facebook friends posted about how she went on a run, but noted that she's not a runner. My mom, who is currently training for her first 5K, has expressed frustration with not feeling like she's going far enough or fast enough on her training runs. We're running her first race together on June 1 (her 60th birthday!), and she keeps insisting that we run separately. Not happening, lady. You're stuck with me! 

What makes someone a runner? If the person runs. By running, she is a runner, regardless of distance, pace, time, or mileage. To be a runner, you only have to start. I'm so proud of the runners around me who have taken on this awesome sport. Keep it up, runners! 



  1. Soooo proud of Momma Saoud! Run like the wind...or a slight breeze, it doesn't matter - just do it to finish!!! Yes, you should let your daughter run with you (my first race was with my daughter - her first as well). If you cross the finish line together then you will have less photos to purchase too, lol! You'll do great & I can't wait to hear all about it when you're done.

  2. Momma Saoud is going to rock Sunburst! She's going to do great... and I'm so excited we get to do it together!

    I see you're signing up for all sorts of races! Which one are you most excited about?!


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