There is Greatness in You

Posted by Filed Under: Inspiration & Motivation

Through my blog, someone recently called me a “great runner”.

ed whitlockIt was an odd thing to happen. On one hand, I was flattered by the kind gesture. But, the other side of me felt uncomfortable being called “great” because I just didn’t believe it. There are many, many great runners and I don’t consider myself a part of their realm. I mean, terry foxTerry Fox was great. Haile Gebrselassie is great. Paula Radcliffe is great. Ed Whitlock is great.

And me? I’m way down the list. I’m not elite. I’m not sub-elite. I’m somewhere between sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-elite and sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-elite.

haileStill, the comment stayed with me. I thought to myself, “Are there things that I can be proud of? Things that are pretty great about my running”?

I let the questions simmer for several months and came up with a little list of what makes me a great runner.

1. I don’t give up: Over the years, I’ve battled against injuries and chronic pain and I’m still running.

rudy.jpg2. Consistency: If you give me a plan, I will follow it. I’m sort of a Rudy of running – I will do the work because I know I don’t have a lot of talent and work is the only way I will improve.

3. Passion: “A Passion for Running” is the name of my blog – the name came to me very quickly. I love running. I absolutely love running. There will be something about running in my epitaph. My passion for running – more than anything – is what makes me a great runner.

paula radcliffeIt’s your turn. What makes you a great runner? And don’t tell me you’re not a great runner because you are. Maybe you’re great because you’ve shed a lot of pounds through running. Or maybe you’re great because you raised money for a good cause through running. Or maybe you’re great because you get out there when others make excuses not to.

Make a list and put it some place where you’ll see it. There are far too many negative places in the world. Let this be a place that helps you understand why you’re not half bad.

Ok, let’s hear ya. What makes you great?

About Mark Iocchelli

Also known as the "Running Blogfather", I'm a 40-something marathoner who has beaten stress fractures and terrible shin splints. Now I'm running double the mileage with no pain - and I'm getting faster. I love to talk about running form and Arthur Lydiard. I also enjoy taking photographs, have a beautiful (and very patient!) wife, and am the proud father of two crazy kids. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about the site.

  1. Dawn - Pink Chick on November 26th at 2:28 pm

    Persistence: I’m told someone recently referred to me as “Persistent”. It’s true, cause like you I don’t give up. I’m still a slow poke but I’m also still out there running. By the end of the year I will have logged over 1000k and completed 20 races – 3 Half Marathons, one Marathon and a whole bunch of other shorter races. I don’t give up even when injured I recover and continue. Guess that makes me “not half bad”….lol.

  2. Kim on November 26th at 6:36 pm

    It feels strange to pat myself on the back, but what makes me a great runner is my ability to keep going. I started running on 1/2/07, quit smoking the same day, and then ran a marathon in June. I refuse to give up even on days when giving up seems like the only viable option. I am also a inspiration to people, which makes me feel humble, but also makes me feel like a great runner.

    Truly, though I’m a great runner because I run. Not because I run great, or fast, or even well for that matter. No, it’s great because I get up and do it. No matter what.

  3. Mark Iocchelli on November 26th at 7:59 pm

    Kim, that was a good, well-deserved pat on the back.:)

  4. Lindsey on November 26th at 9:39 pm

    I want to be considered a great runner one day. As a beginner, I guess what makes me a great runner is the commitment I have made and the desire to attain my goals.

  5. Matt on November 27th at 1:15 pm

    Hmm, great idea, but a tough one! As a newbie who still needs to buy their second pair of running shoes, it’s hard to feel ‘great’. But I heard a saying along the lines of “greatness is daring to begin”, and I’m certainly enjoying this beginning.

  6. Jeanne on November 29th at 12:15 pm

    i never ever ever feel that I deserve to be called great. but i am consistent (usually, ha!) And i generally finish what i start.

    so i can claim 1 and 2 on your list. but passion…about running? well, i seem to talk about it endlessly! but the actual running part??? Notice that my blog does not have the word “passion” in the title!

    great post mark!

  7. Annalisa on December 2nd at 9:36 pm

    hrm. I’ve never even thought about what makes me great, or if I am great at all. But let’s assume I am. Yay, me.

    What makes me great is that I have inspired a few people to start running, and a few more to stick with it. I’ve encouraged others, volunteered at some races, yelled and whooped and clapped at the Boston Marathon until I was hoarse and my hands ached. I’ve tried to find humor in the face of adversity. I remain hopeful, in terms of my own accomplishments, and enthusiastic about the goals of others. I think that’s pretty great.