Go and look in the mirror.
I struggled so much with this concept in the early days when I had just started out.
I never called myself a "runner". Despite having put aside all my awful memories of running at school to try again, despite having got out there on my own and progressed from zero to hero I still refused to call myself a "runner". If you'd asked me back then I would have squirmed, looked really awkward and uncomfortable and mumbled something along the lines of "well I'm more of a jogger really" "just the odd 5km" JUST? Really?
Why do we do that? Why do we refuse to own our achievements? Why do we belittle the amazing things we've done because we're worried we don't have the rights to the title of "runner", worried we don't fit the mould, worried if we say it out loud that might not be how others perceive us?
What we wear doesn't define whether or not we're a runner. Wobbly thighs,wobbly arms, curves and anything but a svelte frame again doesn't mean we can't call ourselves runners. What people think of us doesn't take away our right to call ourselves "runners"
In this photo I was just about to run my very first marathon in Edinburgh. I'd been running on and off for about 10 years but I still wouldn't have called myself a runner. It's written all over my face. I felt out of my depth and I laughed at myself for being so stupid to actually think I could run a marathon. But do you know what crossing the finish line isn't when I became a "runner". I didn't become a runner because I ran a marathon.
I became a runner the very first time I decided to give it a try. When I collapsed in a heap after thirty seconds because I couldn't breathe but I decided to stand up and try again, that was my defining moment.
You see the thing which defines you as a "runner" is the strength you have within. It's not what you wear or your body shape or even the number of races you enter, it's that moment when you don't give up and you try again.
So here is your new mantra for when the doubt creeps in "I AM A RUNNER"
Ps we'd love to hear about your defining moment. Pop over to the Facebook group and tell us all about it using the #iamarunner.