Who are the “Real” Runners?

Saturday, 29 May 2010  |  Bullish Insights

Here’s a note I received last night from a certain JimS regarding the latest issue of TBR Magazine with Karylle on the cover. I appreciate his candor and I admire his support for our elite athletes, but I certainly don’t agree with the way he belittles the non-elite. Thank you JimS for your feedback!

Hector Yuzon on your magazine, for what? Their were three more other Filipinos who finished LA Marathon way better that Hector. All three performed impressively and qualified for Boston. Milet, a female runner from Cebu has a more compiling story than Hector. Stop featuring so called pa “pogi” runners and instead feature the accomplished and real athletes. But you wont do that don’t you. Keep doing the same practice and you will lose credibility as a real runners magazine. Yong Larrazabal? This guy can’t even qualify for Boston and he is your cover story? How about the Sabals and the real runners in the country? Feature them and help them get sponsorships to run international races instead of promoting the wannabes.

Thinking aloud, guys. Here are my questions and it would be great if you could answer them:

If you are not an elite runner, does that mean you do not have the right to be featured in a magazine or obtain sponsorship due to your achievements or contributions to the sport?

Yong Larrazabal stages races in Cebu and donates all profits to charity. Hector Yuzon guided a group of TBR Dream Marathoners without expecting anything in return. Is Hector or Yong less of a runner than Eduardo Buenavista?

If our latest TBR Cover, Karylle, only started running two years ago, and she does not run as fast as the elite, does she have a right to call herself a “real” runner?

We featured TBR Dream Marathoners in the same issue, three runners hoping to accomplish their first marathon, did they not have the right to be featured in our pages?

If your PR for a 10km is 1 hr 30 mins, does that mean you are not a “real” runner?

If you never won a medal in a race, can you call yourself a “real” runner?

If you never qualified for Boston or never won in a national competition, does this give another runner the right to tag you as a “pa-pogi” or a “wannabe”?  Shouldn’t some runners pay just a wee bit of respect to regular people who juggle running with other responsibilities in life and still manage to perform relatively well?

Who are real runners anyway?

More importantly, what is a “real runner”?

To my mind, real runners are those who have a serious passion for the sport. Real runners are those who make running a part of their lives regardless of the number of races they’ve run, the medals they’ve won, how far they’ve covered or how fast they can go.

Who’s a real runner for me?  He’s the loner who does not join races and has no running friends, but he laces up every 5 a.m. to run 10km.  She’s the mom who just gave birth, but commits to spending 30 mins. thrice a week to run while her newborn is sleeping.  He’s the 50 year old divorcee who picked up running a few months ago as a symbol of starting a new chapter in his life. She’s the newbie who picked up a free magazine last month, got inspired by the story of Donna Cruz (another “real” runner in our book), and finally got the guts to run a 5k this weekend.  Those are real runners.  And they deserve the same attention and exposure as the elites of our world.

TBR Magazine is a lifestyle running magazine. It is a resource for training, gear, nutrition, race calendar, directory, and so much more for runners.  Needless to say, we feature real runners based on the definition stated above.  We choose to feature real runners, whether they are artists, CEO’s, housewives or just like any “Juan” out there because we believe that each runner can be an inspiration to another.

Having said that, we have a high respect for our elite athletes and encourage companies to sponsor them so they can do our country proud.  It is a sad fact that our elite have little support and means to join races abroad to gain recognition.  I know there are runners who are helping them gain exposure and I applaud them for that.

I told a friend before that my criteria for choosing the cover of TBR Magazine was this: the cover runner must LOVE running. I could feature the President of the Country, the no. 1 runner of the world, or the most popular matinee idol, but if we asked them this: “Do you love running?” and they replied with a “No.” then I would rather feature the “wannabe” who seriously loves the sport.

P.S. JimS, I wrote Millette, a good friend, hoping to feature her Boston-qualifying LA Marathon along with Hector.  Unfortunately, her story didn’t reach our print deadline.  I’ll be featuring her here on thebullrunner.com instead.