Do Runners Inspire runners?

I’m a member of a few Facebook running communities, most have a mixture of very good runners and more beginner runners and the combination works.  Most Sundays are full of race results, pictures, medals and self congratulatory posts seeking approval from their peers.  I’m not knocking it as I have done exactly the same thing. They are in a safe place, a runners place and runners do understand runners and they know they will get a nice response because their real friends don’t care or understand about running.  I still post every run on my Facebook page as it’s an easy way of recording them if I ever want to look back again.  I even have a few runner friends who like my posts.  🙂

I have to admit that I tend to gloss over the very large majority of these posts as I only fleetingly “know” these people and even then it’s only on the Internet.  The posts I do look for are those of people I know and have met or members of my online running team as we actually communicate more than just race times and results.  There are also the posts from runners who have struggled or are struggling, the ones carrying a few extra pounds and the runners who just find it hard work.  I like them because I can relate, I was them, I still am them, I’ll probably always be them.

I can feel the pride of a first time 10k finisher, or a half or a full as I’ve been there and I remember the pride and relief of finally reaching a magical target.  For them time is immaterial, the finish line means more than anything else.  I celebrate with these people and congratulate them, it’s a mighty achievement.

Where I have issues are the runners who go online to tell everyone how they failed in achieving a certain time when that time “they failed at” is faster than 99% of the time all the runners could ever achieve.  The “failure” runner knows this and posts and waits for all the posts telling him/her how awesome and amazing they are.  STOP IT!!  We know you’re faster than us, belittle yourself somewhere else.

Do runners inspire runners?  Everyone is inspired by different criteria and no one is the same in thinking what is good or bad or inspiring.  Elite runners don’t inspire me, what they do, they do easily, it’s hardly an effort or so they make it seem.  Fast club runners and their 1:30 halfs don’t inspire me.  I can’t run that fast and never will be able to.  The runners that inspire me are the ones that push themselves but at a level I can relate to.  I know what a 6 hour marathon feels like, I’ve felt that pain that goes on for hours.  I can relate to someone who runs 50 miles and it takes half a day.  These are the runners who have to push themselves, they go to the start and know it’s going to hurt and hurt for a long time.  These are the runners who don’t realise they inspire other runners, they do it because they feel that they have to, they usually do it to raise money for great causes and sometimes they do it just to show other people that they can do it.

Who inspires you and why?

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6 thoughts on “Do Runners Inspire runners?

  1. I’m inspired by people who no matter what end of the running spectrum continue to push themself. I may be a 1.30 Half runner now, but I was once a 43 min 5k runner. I’m as proud of my progress now as I was then. You don’t get to a certain level and stop being proud of your journey 🙂

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    • Mark, I totally agree that having pride in any accomplishment is something worthy of posting, whether it is the first sub 40 5k or the first sub 3 hour marathon and those should quite rightly be in any running community group. My issue is with the few that post about being a “disappointed failure” because they missed their 1:10 half by 5 seconds or similar Herculean feat.

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      • Im very guilty of that myself. But don’t mean to offend people. I mucked up a few attempts at a sub 38 10k and I like to share how I’m doing. Makes me question whether a line should be drawn when you join a group.

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      • That part of the original post was a dig at one runner, not in RTD, who has categorically stated that halfs should have a cut off time at 1:45 hours and marathons at 4:00, anyone slower than that just isn’t a runner.

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      • Oooft that’s an awful attitude! Sorry if I’m off on a rant. It’s not the first time I’ve had things thrown at me that I just want adulation if you know what I mean. I’m quite sensitive so don’t want to think I’m pissing folk off, so that’s why I’ve asked the question 🙂

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