You Don’t Have to Fit a Particular Mold to Be a Runner

Tomorrow I am heading to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for the Runner’s Wold Half Marathon and Festival!


When I was first invited to run at the festival I was scared!  And I mean freak out scared.  Did they realize I wasn’t a typical runner?  Did they realize I wouldn’t be able to run all three races (5K, 10K, and half marathon) in one weekend like many of the other runners?  Did they realize that I’m a size 16, weight 220 pounds, and run my races on a 2:1 run/walk ratio?

The truth is, I hope they did realize it.  I got over my fears of running at the Runner’s World Festival the moment I realized that it was my chance to show men and women of all shapes and sizes that you don’t have to fit a particular mold to be a runner.  Although I have always admired women who are lean and run miles with ease, I am not that woman.

I say all of this because I want you to realize that it doesn’t matter what you look like, what size you are, or how you run, YOU can be a runner.  Every person’s path to running will be different but if you have the desire to run you can do it!

Now does all this mean I’ve tackled my fears of the upcoming weekend?  No way, but I have to remember why I’m doing this and who I’m doing this for.  I’m doing it for myself and for all of you who want to run or just need a little motivation to get out there.

One thing I’m really, really nervous about is the “easy 3 mile shakeout run” Friday morning.  You see, I don’t really do 3 mile shakeout runs… I’m more of a 20 minute 1.5 mile shakeout jog/walk kind of girl.  So the thought of seeing a group of athlete gather to run 3 miles (just to loosen the muscles before the weekend of races) scares the crap out of me.  As I train for all of my races with run/walk what am I suppose to do, start walking 2 minutes into our 3 mile warm up?  The answer is yes!  You see, I’m scared of what others are going to think about my pace, my speed, and my technique.  I am letting my fear of others get to me but the only person it is affecting is ME.

Running can be scary, especially if you do not feel like you fit the runner mold, but we have such a fantastic opportunity to break that mold!  The first step is recognizing what scares you and what’s stopping you.  For some it may be time, for others it might be insecurities about their body, and for others it might be not being able to meet the expectations in their head.  No matter what they are, take some time to think about how you can break the mold and step into running.

I know you can do it!


  1. says

    Great article and so very true. I, like you worried about that type of stuff when I first started running a couple years ago. But after having and making some of those “fast” friends and realizing that they didnt care if they had to slow down with me or really cared what my pace was,it was at that point, I stepped back and started enjoying “racing”. Yes I can run 15 miles without stopping now, but its still at a slow pace. Do I care, NO, because I learned to enjoy it. I will be right by your side this weekend in our shake out run. We can do this:)

  2. says

    I agree! I am about your size and I have completed races of all distances at a sloggy speed. I feel like I am proof that you can be any size and accomplish awesome things.

  3. says

    I am so excited you are going to Runners World this weekend and I am excited to meet you. We all started somewhere so know that you are only just beginning and while you may feel different you aren’t. I run all the time but worry that I won’t fit in this weekend either. But it will be so fun and worth stepping outside our comfort zone. See you soon!!!

  4. Katy says

    You are going to do great!!! You are so determined to do this that all nerves will disapear as soon as you arrive! Stay positive, keep repeating “I can do this, I got this!!”, and most importantly, HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Maria says

    Exactly the type of motivation I needed. I thought i was the only one with those thoughts. Back to training!! Thank you!! And good luck this weekend! :)

  6. says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was woried that I’d never be able to do this because other people run so much faster than me and it tkes me 12-15 minutes to hit a mile. You made me feel so much better about this. Now I’m wondering if I shpuld work on running longer (as in amount of time) instead of running for only a short time but faster. Any advice.

    You’re going to do great and you have such a wonderful attitude about it. Good luck!

  7. says

    Awesome post and totally true! I was a basketball and lacrosse player all throughout my childhood but I stopped playing after my freshman year in college. I continued to go to the gym but I got the itch for something more, something to work towards, so I started running… Running on a field or a court, sprints, is definitely not the same as distance! I doubted myself for a while but once I got into the groove and accepted that I just had to finish the race, not always win, I fell in love with it :)

  8. says

    Hi. Most important is to have fun this weekend. I enjoy running despite not fitting the mold either. Actually, I’m working through a bout of runner’s knee which is a result of my frame and running mechanics. Regardless, you shouldn’t be intimidated by the other runners. Running is not a collective sport per se. It very individually focused and runners concentrate on what they need to do to run a good race. If they’re too busy looking around or commenting on what someone does or doesn’t do, they’ll lose focus. So don’t worry and hope you fun. Good luck!


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