The title seems silly doesn't it? Kind of a 'duh' statement. You'd be surprised.
I belong to a run community on a social media site every day I read runners talk about a great run they had yet mention their slow pace. They seem a little embarrassed and feel the need to apologize for this.
This is nonsensical!
Running is running no matter the pace. Some runners are naturally fast, some naturally slow. Some are better at sprinting, some are better at endurance. We're ALL runners enjoying the same sport. We're ALL athletes whether we run a 6 minute mile or a 14 minute mile, whether we run 1 mile or 26 miles. Some runners walk every so often - and they all walk in the beginning of their journey. It's not the pace that makes us.
You see, it's our heart that makes us athletes. Running takes courage, dedication & commitment. It takes putting yourself out there. It takes a leap of faith to even begin the journey.
The running community as a whole is a wonderful, encouraging group of people. We all know the effort it takes & it bonds us together. Sure you may come across the occasional ego based person who tries to make you feel inferior (& really that comes from low self esteem), but remember they're an exception to the rule & frankly, THEY are the ones that don't fit in. Brush them off.
So I guess I'd like to say when it all boils down is, if you run be proud to call yourself a runner. If you run, no matter the distance, pace or length of time you've been doing it - YOU are a runner. YOU are an athlete. YOU have earned that title. Even if you don't feel like it, it's still the truth. Start seeing yourself through this filter because it's a pretty cool, life changing thing.
Rock on runners!!