A lot of runners struggle to understand why so many people struggle to embrace the identity of a runner. Or feel like they can be apart of the running community. We live in fear that "real runners" will turn to us and tell us that we don't belong. That we're slow or that we aren't invited to the running party.
And the truth is, those people exist. There's a small portion of the running community that does, in fact, consider themselves better than the rest of us.
And that's OK. Here's what we need to remember, it's a hell of a lot harder trying to belong or prove yourself than it is to give yourself permission to be your best.
You have nothing to prove to anyone, ever. Is it motivating to prove to yourself that you're not a quitter? Or that you are stronger than you ever thought possible? Hell yeah! The only person you're in competition with is yourself.
And should you ever have to come in contact with anyone in that small group who tries to shame you or push you out, hold them accountable but try to remember that hurt people hurt people. It's not a reflection of you, but them.
You belong. You deserve to be here. You have nothing to prove.
This is a comment that was made on a picture I posted to Instagram of myself and two friends finishing the Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon.
It's scary. It's disgusting. And it makes me sick. The man who made the comment has apologized for making me feel unsafe, and for that I'm grateful.
Threatening to physically harm someone is dangerous, reckless, and it's disgusting. Even if it's a joke (looking at you Donald Trump).
But it is a really important reminder that even though there will always be bad eggs in every community, we need to find ways to embrace them instead of shaming them. We all deserve to belong.
Shame is a dangerous, dangerous thing. I hope everyone tries to remember that regardless of how frustrated you get, there's another human on the other side of the screen. Even if you don't see eye to eye, you can always find a way to speak respectfully to one another.
Name calling and threats are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. EVER.
That's not what the running community stands for.