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When can you call yourself a runner?
When can you call yourself a runner?

I would never say I've been a non-runner. The mile was one of the two things I was good at in high school P.E. class (gymnastics was the other) and through university and afterward I had sporadic flings with the idea of going for regular runs. But I never called myself a "runner," either—I was just a person who would go for short runs now and again, but never took running very seriously.

But over the past few years, I've been running more regularly and last August 31, I ran my first race—a 10K put on by Nike in Vancouver (and around the world), called the Human Race. (That's me in the middle in the picture, with a couple of friends from the industry who also ran the race. We're thrilled after a phenomenal run around the Vancouver waterfront.) This was followed by my second race, a 10K at the Toronto Zoo in October.

I'm no elite runner—not yet, anyways—although my times aren't shabby, either. So now can I call myself a runner?

I think in our culture, we often take sports far too seriously. A "real" athlete is one who either achieves at an international level or makes money from the sport, or who devotes their entire life to it. But what about the rest of us, who fit exercise into our already packed-full lives? Do we deserve the name, too?

This year, I've signed up for five races, ending with a half marathon (that's 21 km) in San Francisco in October. (It's also a Nike race, Nike Women's Marathon. What can I say—they put on great races!) I'll be running a lot in 2009, fingers crossed—although so far in my life, I've never gone farther than 11 km. But you know what? I think I get to call myself a runner now.

What do you think? When do you get to claim a title for yourself? I'd love to hear your stories.

View all of Kat's running posts on the Half-marathon diaries home page.

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