If you've spent any time around any running blogs or message boards then you've probably heard some version of the debate about the difference between being a runner or a jogger. Today's post will be my opinion on the matter or as I prefer to call it; The Definitive Answer.
The catalyst for this debate within the running community recently has been the Pearl Izumi 'we are not joggers' ad campaign which counter's Reebok's 'run easy' campaign. Chances are that if you're an elite or seasoned runner you were inspired by the 'we are not joggers' ads and if you are a slower or newer runner you were probably offended by it.
The ad paints joggers in a negative light and runners as elitist snobs, neither of which is true. Sure there are some elite runners out there who think themselves better than you and I, and let's be honest they ARE better than you or I, but only when it comes to running. And just because they are better than me at running doesn't give them the right to look down their noses at me. I mean, you don't see me looking down my nose at them because I'm a better blogger than they are. Seriously, have you ever read an elite runner's blog? BO - RING!
So far as I can tell, this dichotomy only occurs in running. The golf pro's at my local course don't try to tell me that I'm not playing golf just because I hit the ball into the wrong fairway every other hole. Sure they have some colorful names reserved for me, and they think I'm a bad golfer but they still concede the fact that I'm playing golf. If I play golf while wearing my iPod or ride in a cart instead of walking, or smoke a cigar while I'm playing it doesn't mean I'm not playing golf. Likewise, just because you are a slow runner doesn't mean that you are not running, as Pearl Izumi would appear to claim. You are still participating in the same sport or activity of running.
I for one am not going to tell someone who is giving everything they've got to crank out a 36:45 minute 5K that they were not running. I don't care how slow you are or that you have to listen to your iPod to get motivated, or that you run on a treadmill, or that you need walk breaks, you're running. You might not be as good as some people or as fast, but it doesn't change the definition of what you're doing.
Of course if I ever get to the point where I'm running sub 6 minute miles in marathons then I will delete all evidence of this post and pompously pronounce my superiority over all of you lame 'joggers'.
Incidentally, the ad campaign was absolutely genius. Had you ever heard of Pearl Izumi before these ads came out? Do you think we'd all be discussing them this much if they had gone with a mellow ad campaign? Sure they upset some people who are swearing that they'll never own their shoes but that will all blow over, and in 6 months a brand new runner will stand in a sporting goods store and look at a pair of Pearl Izumi's and think to himself "hey, these were marketed to elite runners, they must be great shoes" and then he'll buy the shoes and torment them by never letting them be any faster than 10 minute miles.
For the record, I consider myself a runner. A runner who's not as fast as he'd like to be, and a runner who occasionally jogs but a runner nonetheless. Personally I think Dr. George Sheehan said it best when he said that "the difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry blank."
It seems like every idiot with a blog is weighing in on this debate and I'm no different, but here are three that I enjoyed: Beyond Madison Avenue, Adrants and DaneGer Zone.