Blogger Deborah Brooks explains why choosing to avoid the marathon distance doesn't make her any less of a runner.

Once you start running regularly, people invariably ask you if and when you are going to run a marathon. Does running a marathon make you a “real” runner? After more than 12 years of “real” running and racing, I can honestly say that I have no desire to ever run a marathon. Ever. None at all. Here’s why.

I Love Running

Running is my passion, my escape, my therapy and my social life wrapped up into one. I look forward to every run and enjoy it with all my heart. I don’t ever want to feel like running is a chore or that I “have to” run a certain number of miles. That would turn running into an obligation for me.

I Am Injury-Prone

I have learned the hard way that my body is not designed for marathon miles. I have had my share of overuse injuries when I’ve significantly increased my mileage. My body is pretty happy running a moderate amount of miles–and so am I.

I Love To Cross-train

As much as I love running, I also love to strength train, ride my bike and swim. I believe these cross-training activities make me a stronger runner and keep me injury free.

I religiously run three times each week, outside all year round. I look forward to and appreciate every run that I go on. Am I a real runner? You bet I am!