My very good friend Raelene put a post up on her blog yesterday that got me angry. Actually, it got me so angry that I couldn't stop thinking about it. It even stopped me from getting a good nights sleep!
My friend Raelene started the 12 Week Body Transformation back in August 2012, which is the same time as me. Over the last eighteen months Raelene has transformed from an inactive fast-food loving woman, to a confident, healthy, active woman. She loves to exercise, and just like me, she loves running. Last year she completed her first half marathon and has completed in numerous other fun runs over the past year. She has become super active and has a new lease on life. And she has lost an amazing 14kg.
|Raelene (right) and her sister Sharon|
On the weekend Raelene took part in a local fun run. Although she was running with headphones in her ears, she didn't have the sound turned up too loud, so she could still hear what was going on around her (smart woman). There were some thin runners behind her and unfortunately she could hear their conversation - "Nothing like THAT to motivate you!", and they then proceeded to run past her. She knew who they were talking about. They were talking about her.
The runners ran past my friend, however later on she ran past them. And then they ran past her and later on she ran past them. This happened a few times. When Raelene finally finished the race she soon found out that she had beaten them, which she was absolutely happy about.
|Sarah and Raelene after the race|
So what is the point of me re-telling this story that most of you have probably read on Raelene's blog? Well, the obvious one is not to say nasty things about people as they might hear you. You cannot assume that just because people have earphones in their ears that they cannot hear you.
My main point is not to judge a runner by their appearance. You cannot assume that just because someone is older, younger, larger, smaller, male, female, or running with a disability that they are not as good as you, or maybe even better. Just because someone is thinner or has longer legs than you does not mean that they will be a better runner than you. And just because someone is older than you does not mean that they are not as good as you.
Runners come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The most beautiful thing about running is that anyone can do it. All you need is a good pair of runners (and a good sports bra if you are a woman) and off you go. You can run as far as you want and at whatever speed you want. There are no rules, unlike other sports, that you need to know before you head out the door for a run. It is pure freedom.
|Runners in all different shapes, sizes and ages|
I will admit, there have been times when I have been running in fun runs where I have been beaten by runners who are much older than me (I'm talking about runners in their 60s and 70s). I have also been beaten by runners who are larger than me. And runners who are wearing totally inappropriate running shoes.
Sometimes when I am crossing the finishing line, I think to myself "I cannot believe that THAT girl beat me!" and I am a little sad for a moment or two. But then I think about why I am out there. I am not out there to come in the top 10 in my age group (that would be awesome though). I am out there to exercise, run a good run and hopefully get a Personal Best.
I also look at everyone around me. The people who are older, younger, larger, smaller, shorter, taller, more experienced and less experienced. I then think about how fantastic it is that all of these people are out there running. They are doing this to benefit themselves. They are doing this to lose weight, keep active or keep an illness at bay. I don't know their story either. They might have been so overweight a year ago that walking around the block might have been a struggle, yet today they are running a half marathon. Their time might not be the quickest or it might be better than mine, but at least they are out there running. Who am I to judge them? I want everyone to be healthy and active, so I should be happy that they are out and about.
|We are all out here for one reason - to run!|
So the next time you are running and you pass a slower runner or an older runner passes you, don't say a nasty comment about them. Stop judging them and be happy that they are outside running and sharing the wonderful experience of the run with you. And most of all, run your own race and don't worry about the people around you.