I’ve been rolling this thought around in my head the past few weeks and decided to get your thoughts on the matter!
In our running circles it’s not uncommon to hear people say “Oh I’m not a runner, I’m not fast” or “I don’t run long distance like him/her!”.
I’ve read before that it’s ok to call yourself a runner when you begin your journey – putting one foot in front of the other. In my case, I didn’t necessarily call myself a “runner” until I had a consistent weekly routine and was well underway in training for my first Half Marathon. Why? I honestly can’t tell you why. I loved to run….so why did I have such a hard time calling myself a runner?
Which leads to my question….what defines an “athlete”?
Is an athlete someone who trains and competes at their sport on a professional level? Is an athlete a person who wins a lot of races? Does it take working out all the time to be considered an athlete?
Wikipedia says an athlete is: A person who is involved in Athletics (sport), which involves track and field events, long distance, cross-country and road running, and race walking.
Last year while at a physical therapy session for my ITBand, my PT called me an athlete. I brushed his comment off at the time and tried to pretend like I didn’t hear him but to be honest, his comment really struck a cord. An athlete? ME? I’m not THAT good at what I do. Maybe in high school/college, when I played softball…but not now. I’m just a runner.
Last night while watching Biggest Loser, I heard Bob call one of the contestants an athlete. Jackson still has a long way to go on his Biggest Loser journey…..and Bob Harper called him an athlete. I loved the look on Jackson’s face when Bob said those words – he seemed shocked at first, then he grinned as if the thought set in, and he realized the truth behind Bob’s statement. What a huge confidence boost (and from Bob Harper at that)!!
To me, I think an athlete is someone who works hard to reach their fitness goals. To have the heart of an athlete, you have to want something so bad, you have to have that burning desire for accomplishment, and you cannot let anything stop you.
Source: Google Images
I love this quote by Nike. So fitting for where I’m trying to go with this.
Do I have that desire? You bet I do! Can I truly call myself an athlete now? I’m not perfect and I know I have a LONG way to go, but yes, I can honestly say – I am an athlete.
Source: Google Images
What’s your take on it? What does the word “athlete” mean to you? When do you think a person truly becomes an athlete?