Mile Posts: There Is No JUST In 13.1

It is not just 13.1 miles. Any distance makes you a runner.


Over the past 10 or so years, I’ve worked more race expos than I can count. There is one takeaway that comes from every single expo that continues to blow my mind. The word JUST.

Me: What race distance are you running this weekend?

Runner: Just the half marathon. I know it’s not the marathon, but it’s long for me, and it’s going to be my first. I’m really proud of it, even though I know other people can run longer.

The half marathon is a long distance, period. It’s 13.1 miles, more miles than I drive most days.

I wondered if it was JUST me.

Do other runners think that running 13.1 miles is a long way to go? No, it’s not 26.2. But guess what it’s also not: 100 miles.

Does running 100 miles make someone more of a runner than me and my 28 marathons?

Does running marathons make you more of a runner than running half marathons, 10 milers, 10K’s or even 5k’s?

The answer is a resounding NO.

It’s easy in this age of non-stop comparisons…”Oh my kids potty trained at this age. Oh I ran up until I was x months pregnant. I’m running marathons in all 50 states. I got two promotions this year….yada yada yada… compare the distance you are running to what others are doing. But stop.

This past Sunday, I ran the Rock ‘N’ Roll San Antonio Half Marathon. I had planned on running the marathon, but because of time constraints, I decided I wanted to switch to the half and catch an earlier flight home. I was reminded over those 13.1 miles that a half marathon is a long way to go. Personally a marathon is easier any day of the week. I’m the type of runner that likes long slow pain, not when I have to pick up the pace and run for a shorter period of time. Does that make me less or more of a runner than someone who runs 5K’s or ultras? Neither! It makes me a runner. It makes me – me.

Next time someone asks you what race distance you are running – OWN IT. There is no JUST. It’s all running, and it’s all awesome.

Don’t let your mileage define you. We are runners and everyone has their own definition of what is short, what is long, and what makes them happy.

So tell me what do you consider long distance? Should we ditch the word JUST and OWN our races?