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My wee mind works overtime very often on things that means nothing to anyone, including myself. The legend in lycra reminded me of something I said last year. I had at some stage last year said that for me to regard myself as a proper club runner I would have to run a sub 19 5k, a sub 40 10k and a sub 90 half marathon. So he asked me if I felt like one now that I have beaten them all.
And my answer was no.
But why? It stuck in my mind and I’ve tried to find the answers why. It also got me thinking what is a good runner? What is an average runner? And if such things exist then does that mean there is such a thing as a bad runner? And what is that then? Ach it beats doing the statutory accounts for four companies having this confusion in my mad wee baldy head.
So let’s look at me. Two years ago I would look at someone who is doing the times I am now doing and say they are a good runner. I look at me now and don’t think I am a good runner. I’m now looking at the people I train with that are running minutes ahead of me and thinking that THEY are good runners. And I listen to them being disappointed that they haven’t broke 17 minutes for a 5k yet and thinking a 36 min 10k is a disaster knowing that they are also regarding others as good runners, and not themselves (apart from maybe Scott Dickson who can’t understand why he isn’t in the Olympics team, but I digress). And so the cycle goes on until you reach the top, who are probably just thinking that they should be faster.
Are we ever satisfied?
I know that there are people who think I am a good runner, and people that think these people are too are even though they are looking at the likes of me. The cycle goes both ways. Does this then mean no one is a good runner? Am I being disrespectful to think of myself as a less than average runner when I know that lots of people aspire to run the times I do? I know it’s what I aspired to do and I was fortunate to get there. Are we as runners ever satisfied? This question rears its head again. I think THAT is what makes a good runner. To always keep striving to get the best out of our abilities. To do our best and work hard. Like any past-time some people have more talent than others. But through Motherwell AC, Strava, jogscotland etc etc I have seen people work harder and harder to prove something to themselves, and to others. The thrill of that first sub 30 5k after working hard for 3 months to achieve it. THAT is a good runner. The losing enough weight to be able to run a mile without stopping. GREAT running. To have the courage to change your lifestyle and go out on the streets although scared of ridicule, ignoring the shouts that many of us have had and still get and keep doing it? SUPERB running.
When I was running with Cambuslang in 1990 and smoking at the same time, and not training and disappearing from the sport I was not a proper club runner, even though I was in Scottish coaching squads, district teams etc. I was also not a good runner because of all that even though I was a lot faster than I am now. So time to stop being disrespectful to myself and to all of you. What is a proper club runner? Someone who goes out and does their best wearing their club vest with pride, no matter whether they are first or last, whether it’s rain or shine, with a friendly word for other runners, a smile and a handshake at the end. And you know every one of us that keeps pushing ourselves and trying to beat those wee targets we have in our heads, be it to simply run a mile, or to beat a 15 minute 5k, we are ALL good runners. It’s about time we started respecting ourselves instead of holding others in awe.
When I put on that Motherwell AC vest I am Mark Gallacher, a proper club runner. And I like it.
5 thoughts on “Accept Yourself”
Great read Mark (I’ve read a few but been unable to comment). You are quite right that a “good” runner is one who improves from where they were, not one who achieves X times. I know I’ve been sucked into that (e.g. “must do sub-40min 10k”) when it would be better to be happy with improvement (“that 10k was faster than the last one”).
That’s kind John, thanks 🙂 sometimes I think we need to take a Wee step back and look at ourselves and give ourselves credit where it’s due. I’m my own worst critic as you know.
Love this mark!
Thanks Hilary 🙂
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