I was at a 5k recently & the usual lineup was there: (1) Really fast runners in the front, followed by (2) Average fast runners, followed by (3) Slower run/walkers, followed by (4) Walkers. I am generally in Section (3) and happy to be there (although have proudly taken my place in Section (4) depending on certain variables, such as the current state of my body and/or the course. After this particular race, two of the young/fast (1) guys, who were in the front & finished with times equal to their ages, were talking. As I walked by I heard some of their conversation along the lines of “I don’t know why anyone bothers paying for a race and then only walking…Why come if you’re only going to walk? If you’re a runner, run. You can stay home and walk for free…”
As a runner who walks, (wait, reverse that) my initial reaction (which I did not express out loud) was, well, unprintable in a public forum. Then my “with age, comes wisdom & a little smartass” self took over and I smiled and thought, How nice that you two can be so arrogant & ignorant at the same time. As Dr. Phil says: “You don’t even know what you don’t know yet.”
Everyone is at a different place in fitness—hell, in life. This guy was expressing his opinion from where he is currently in his life. I’m reacting from where I am in mine. I’m an (over) middle aged woman who is grateful to be able to walk, as well as run some, in a 5k. These 2 young men will be here one day, but it’s so far off they can’t even imagine it. I was there once too.
But back to the young man’s original question. Why do a 5k when you are only walking? I’ll tell you why I do, young man:
- Stress Relief
- Social Interaction
- Different Environment
- Support Good Causes
These are just a few reasons off the top of my head. I could probably come up with more if I actually thought about it.
Walkers, runners, swimmers, cross fitters, dancers, Yoga/Pilates/Tai Chi’er’s, whatever your exercise-of-choice is: Keep Doing It! Don’t be discouraged if you’re not in the front, or the youngest or the fastest or the most graceful, Keep Doing It! It’s not for anyone else; it’s for YOU and you are showing up and being GREAT!