Breakthrough Patient Recruitment

: Running is About More Than the Race

Running is About More Than the Race

Clinical Research Manager

"Everyone is an athlete.  The only difference is that some of us are in training, and some are not." - George Sheehan

When I am discussing a past or upcoming road race or triathlon, I often hear people say, "I am not a runner." But does that mean one is unable to run, that they don't enjoy running, or that they perceive themselves to be too slow to be a "runner." The "I am not a runner" response always conjures this quote for me: "a 12-minute mile is just as far as a 6-minute mile." Since I began running with others, there's one thing that I have found to be true time and time again: Runners are a special community. The vast majority do not sign up for events with the intention of winning or even placing higher than another runner. We do it to keep improving. There's no judgment between athletes of different sizes or shapes because we are all out there doing our best.

But you don't have to be doing the running to reap some of the benefits. The 119th Boston marathon took place earlier this month, and if you have never been a spectator at a marathon, I highly recommend you add this to your bucket list. Other good spectator races include the Baltimore Running Festival and the Marine Corps Marathon. At these events, you will see people of all ages, races, sizes, and backgrounds crossing the finish line. You will see people in wheelchairs and amputees, teenagers and grandparents, and those from all around the world. 

What you also see are acts of strength that seemingly defy science, and you'll notice that the determination you're witnessing is uniquely human--a common thread that connects all of humanity and transcends the vast diversity of our species. We were not built to complete 26.2 miles, but we do, whether it takes 2.5 hours, or 8. A story I read just last month about a women who lost 200 pounds and had trouble finishing a 10K, but did so with the help of local police officers, is an amazing example of perseverance and a testimony of the power of small acts of encouragement and support.

I'm writing today not to convince you to run a marathon, but rather to try something new. Pick an event and set a goal; whether it is to complete a triathlon, walk a 5K, learn to swim, or join an adult soccer league. We all started somewhere, and it wasn't pretty! There's an incredible feeling of satisfaction that comes with completing a physical endeavor that you never thought you could. 

There are a number of local running/training groups in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., area, for people new to the sport. Most are free, and dedicate certain groups to runners all training with a particular race in mind:

If you'd like to get started, there are a number of "Couch to 5K" programs to follow. Especially for your first race, it is recommended that you train with a group because there is a lot to learn, and you'll enjoy the experience more if you do not learn it the hard way! There are also many fun 5Ks in which you can participate, ranging from the Color Run to the Electric Run to more competitive ones. Give it a try, you won't regret it.

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