Labeling – Runner or Jogger Does It Really Matter?

MCM 1983

The Runner or Jogger debate has gone on for as long as I have been running – more than 40 years. The other night I started to have a disagreement with someone on Twitter and stopped, before it turned into a pissing contest (see post).

It has been one of those little pissant things that really isn’t all that big a deal or very important in the overall scheme of things, but for some reason or other was a hot button issue for me for a long time and I hadn’t really figured out why. Part of the reason for this post is my attempt to figure out why when someone attempts to insinuate accidentally or on purpose that I am a “jogger” and not a “runner” because I don’t run a certain pace – bothers me?

Minimum Pace

Some people have divided runners and joggers into two different categories based on their pace and that pace usually is somewhere between 7:00 and 8:00 minute miles and other say it is a 10:00 pace when one turns from a jogger into a runner.This labeling of runner or jogger is usually done with intent to put slower runners down for some reason or other. Sometimes the jogger label is used to make it sound as though they are not “real runners, but only a “jogger”. A term that has become something of a negative label to many who run.

While at the same time make it seem as though someone who is able to run at a faster pace is a “real” runner.

To me that is a bunch of bullshit and yes that is how I really feel. 🙂

Other Definitions

Dr. George Sheehan– one of my early running inspirations wrote “that the difference between a runner and a jogger was a signature on a race application”. This might be a pretty good way to look at the difference between joggers and runners, but it doesn’t fit mine. Do I have to race to be a runner – I don’t think so.

I tend to agree with John “The Penguin” Bingham in his I Am Not A Jogger article for “Runners World“a few years back. Please read the article he is much more articulate about this issue that I am.

So what makes me a runner?

  • My attitude towards and about running.
It makes a difference that I care about my running:
  • plan my training
  • learn about new or different ways to improve my running
  • try new equipment, shoes, etc. and
  • I purposely attempt to improve either my ability to run farther or heaven forbid run faster – whether I enter a race or not.

Why not Jogger?

So what are the reasons that I don’t like being called a jogger?

  • my ego – I don’t consider myself a jogger
  • the negativity around the label jogger, in the running community
  • the effort and planning that I put into my running, my running isn’t a casual thing that I just go do.

Those three things pretty much sum up why this was a hot button issue for me.

I have a feeling that the research I did for this post over the past couple of days, will allow me to just let it go a lot more easily. When I perceive that someone else is accidentally or purposely attempting to stereotype or insinuate that I am a less of a runner or jogger based solely on the speed that I now run.

Instead of getting all defensive, I’ll be much more likely to say that’s nice, let them know that I consider myself a runner and let it go.

Sometimes do you ever feel like Don Quixote and are just tilting at windmills, this runner versus jogger label discussion is a lot like that – now that I look back on it.

The reality is that

you define whether you are a runner or a jogger, not someone else’s preconceived notions of how fast you run. If you believe you are a runner – you are, if you believe you are a jogger – you are. It is your choice, not mine or anyone else’s.

I am a Runnah

Personally I will just call myself a “Runnah” and be happy running, after all what label I use to describe what I do is my choice.

What do you think? Does it matter whether what you do is called running or jogging? Why?

I would be interested in what your opinion on this topic is.

Originally written by Harold Shaw published at “A Veteran Runnah” © 2011 – All Rights Reserved. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Harold Shaw and A Veteran Runnah” with appropriate and specific directions or links to the original content.

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11 comments on “Labeling – Runner or Jogger Does It Really Matter?

  1. Hey Harold!! Thanks for stopping by my blog! :)What is really funny to me is that it completely IRKs me when people say I am a jogger. Like really, is there a difference? Well. To me…I think if you run, you are a runner. Unless you prefer to be called a jogger. I am a runner.When I see people out running, I think, there are some runners, no matter what the pace is (like I could tell driving by really anyway).

  2. It doesn't really matter how you cross the finish line.But…jogging and running *are* two different words, so there must be different meanings. I consider myself jogging if I'm just loping along, and running when my foot turnover is quicker.

  3. CG: I enjoyed your blog post and thank you for stopping byStephanie thank you for commenting.I personally don't like labels and we get to decide the actual labels that we want to use to describe our running 🙂

  4. After thirty years I still consider myself a runner. My pace is pedestrian, stride length minimal and PB's are a distant memory. But everyday I get myself ready to go for a run because that is what runners do.Also I hope to continue running, no matter how slow, for a good few years yet.Cormac @ Jogdundee

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  6. It totally doesn’t matter to me. I don’t care what other people call me. Some days I jog. Other days I run. I even sprint sometimes. But who gives a rip what other people call me?

    • As long as I can run it doesn’t matter all that much to me, but words are powerful symbols and give the imagery or perception of a certain stereotype, which can matter to many people. Being a runner or jogger is an attitude more than anything.

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