A runner is a runner is a runner. Even if you’re a two-legged traffic jam, you’re still a runner. You can take pride in that.
The important thing is that you’re out there giving it your all, even if your all isn’t as much as someone else’s. As a runner, you’re probably in better physical shape than most of the nonrunners you met. That alone raises you in the ranks of the elite.
As you continue to run, it’s natural to focus more on your times and the other runner sin the pack and how you stack up against them. Just don’t let that overwhelm the simple knowledge of why you run an what brought you to it in the first place. Ultimately what matters is not when you cross the finish line but how you get there and what it means to you when you do.
There’s an old saying: It’s not the size of the dog in the fight that matters; it’s the size of the fight in the dog. Ditto for runners. a runner who finished 5,000th can show more heart, more pluck and more gritty determination than the runner who finishes 5th.
And that’s what’s so great about this arguable odd, sometimes lonely, utterly compelling pursuit. It’s very democratic. The joy of it is freely available to all.