This summer, it feels like the new joke for athletes is the philosophical question of: If you run a marathon alone in the woods, does it count as being a marathoner? Personally, hell yes, but I know for people who had big scary goals on the calendar for this summer, it’s a huge bummer to not get that finishers medal. I know if we were planning to do Ironman this summer versus when we did it back in 2017, I would be devastated that it was cancelled. But that’s not the point of this piece I wrote for Map My Run. My premise? As long as you’re doing the work, you’re an athlete.
It might be time to revisit your athletic identity and unknot it from the concept of any one race finish and instead, start thinking about other ways you can feel like an athlete. Is there an adventure or another challenge you can do instead of racing this summer? Instead of ‘a runner is someone who races,’ a runner could be someone who regularly goes on long runs on Saturdays, or who tries out a new trail once a month or who convinces her friends and family to get out the door for a jog. We all have an imagined ideal of what a runner is, and maybe it’s time to re-imagine that runner as you.