You DON’T have to run a marathon


If you’re in London this weekend come along to my charity spin class at Boom Cycle Holborn on Sunday morning at 9.30am- sign up by donating here– you’ll get a free healthy brekkie afterwards too! 

Running Berlin Marathon

Have you read my post about why I believe anyone can run a marathon? Well this post explains why you don’t have to! 🙂

A few summers ago, everyone was talking about Alexandra Hemsley’s book ‘Run like a Girl’, and I even had the opportunity to workout with her at a Nike event. However I had a bit of a problem with the book. I felt that it jumped straight from starting to run to running a marathon. Not once did I see Alex suggest that you try another distance, start with a 5K, sign up for a half marathon. She just seemed to talk about marathons.

I felt that it made out that to be a runner, you have to run a marathon.

You don’t.

To be a runner, you just have to run. It doesn’t matter what pace, or distance or how often. If you run, you’re a runner. You don’t have to run a marathon to be a runner.


I know I get swept up in marathon excitement, partly because it’s the distance that made me start running, and partly because I actually enjoy everything that goes into running a marathon. Plus I like the improvements you can see in marathon running. I knocked 45 minutes off my time in a year, and have since knocked another 20 mins off. You wouldn’t see those dramatic improvements in other distances.

But marathons should not be underestimated. The training is hard; hard on your body, your social life and sometimes, your relationships. They are expensive, they are time consuming and they are painful. People (myself included) sign up for the prestige of running a marathon, even though the experience can often be rather unpleasant.

Why are you training for and running a marathon? For the achievement? for the enjoyment? for the challenge? Or because you feel like you should to be a ‘real’ runner?


Inspired by Janae’s post, here are a few ‘You’re a runner even if….’ Comments

  • If you don’t wear a watch
  • You never run for more than 20 mins
  • You never run races
  • You don’t instagram/blog/tweet about your runs
  • You don’t own any fancy running gear
  • You have no desire to ever run a marathon
  • You don’t care about running faster or further
  • You run for fun!

Why not join a running group and meet some other runners, sign up for a Race for Life, or attend your local ParkRun? These activities make you just as much of a runner and someone with 50 marathons under their belt.

Whilst I love running, and do want to continue to run a few more marathons, I know not everyone wants to run, and that’s fine too. Find a sport or activity that you enjoy and do that. Stay active. As my Aunt tells me, she is not a runner, will never run a marathon but still plays hockey regularly aged 52 because she enjoys it. That’s the key to staying active and being healthy, is to find something you love and stick with it!

You don’t have to run a marathon.

If you’re in London this weekend come along to my charity spin class at Boom Cycle Holborn on Sunday morning at 9.30am- sign up by donating here– you’ll get a free healthy brekkie afterwards too! 



  1. May 7, 2015 / 12:36 pm

    I love this post! It can feel a bit like this at times. I’m planning to run my first half on Sunday and while it’s a massive deal to me because I’ve only ever done 10k runs in the past, I still have that nag in my head when I read running blogs that are all talking about marathons or ultras! It’s hard not to compare yourselves to others. I have the type of personality where I always raise the bar when I reach a goal, but I guess that’s how we progress as humans, right?

    Corinne x

    • charlotte
      May 7, 2015 / 12:40 pm

      It’s definitely a massive deal! Good luck with your first half marathon, I’m sure you’ll rock it!

  2. Lauren
    May 7, 2015 / 2:39 pm

    this post made me smile! looking at social media it seems everyone these days is a marathoner.
    i likely will never run a marathon but am so happy when i complete a 10K, etc. and still call myself a runner 🙂

    • charlotte
      May 7, 2015 / 6:07 pm

      Thanks Lauren, you are definitely still a runner!!

  3. May 7, 2015 / 6:03 pm

    I’m just beginning running and I don’t think I’d ever want to run a marathon. I’d be quite happy to complete a 5km and then see where I am once I get there. I’m doing the C25k program at the moment and have registered with parkrun to do my first one in June. I like how parkruns seem like a little community. I like your ‘You’re a runner even if….’ list – that’s me in a nutshell really.

    • charlotte
      May 7, 2015 / 6:06 pm

      Amazing, good luck with your first Park Run, it’s usually a lovely bunch of supportive people!

  4. Kathy
    May 7, 2015 / 6:20 pm

    Great post! Even though I have run two marathons I am certain they are not for me. I loved the first one as it was all about seeing what I could do, but hated the second one as it was all about getting better which I struggled with. As an 800m runner in my youth I’m now happy with the fact that I’m made for speed not distance and am all about getting faster at 5k and occasional 10k now instead of going far (or I will be once I’m done growing a small person – right now am all about running for fun and fitness when I feel up to it!).

  5. May 7, 2015 / 6:59 pm

    I love this . thanks for writing it. i do think it feels like EVERYONE is running one now. sort of a rite of passage.

  6. May 7, 2015 / 9:21 pm

    You’re absolutely right! I got my mum into running in the last year, after years of her insisting that she “couldn’t run”. Now she runs the parkrun every week & hates to miss a week. She still thinks she doesn’t count as “a runner” but I keep telling her that if she runs, she is a runner & I’m so proud of her. If you run, you are a runner, whatever your distance/speed/race of preference – it’s your own thing, enjoy it!

    • charlotte
      May 13, 2015 / 11:06 am

      Amazing, that’s so brilliant that she does Park Run!! Good for her!

  7. May 8, 2015 / 12:07 am

    Love this! You’re a runner if you run and love it 🙂

    • charlotte
      May 13, 2015 / 11:06 am

      Thanks so much Jill!!

    • charlotte
      May 13, 2015 / 11:05 am

      Thanks Theodora x

  8. May 8, 2015 / 1:48 pm

    So true! It’s so hard to not have serious FOMO when others are running a race, but I’ve always found going and spectating/cheering on people can help fill my need for a race environment!

    • charlotte
      May 13, 2015 / 11:02 am

      Completely agree, I definitely got my fill watching the London Marathon!!

  9. May 9, 2015 / 9:55 pm

    Great post Charlie. I am often frustrated with the endurance focus the general public and some other athletes seem to have. I have completed marathons and half Ironman triathlons. However, I honestly prefer to focus my training on getting faster at the shorter events rather than continually pushing myself to go longer. But it almost seems like people respond in a disappointed way when you tell them you have no interest in completing xxxx distance – which absolutely doesn’t make you any less of a runner/cyclist/triathlete/whatever sport…

    • charlotte
      May 13, 2015 / 10:59 am

      Thanks Kelli. I completely agree! Longer is not necessarily better 🙂

  10. May 19, 2015 / 4:14 pm

    Thanks for sharing this post! This could not be more true. I love distance running, but you hit the nail on the head because it’s certainly not for everyone!

    • charlotte
      May 19, 2015 / 4:25 pm

      Thanks for your comment!! Happy running!

  11. June 7, 2015 / 8:47 am

    I really agree with you. I just participate in a 5k running event (although not a marathon, heh) today and that was the first and last running event that I’m going to join. I’m really excited before the event today but as soon as I hit the road, I don’t really feel the joy of running. I was like “It’s boring. There aren’t any difference between running freely and running in such event”. So joining a marathon must be a pain for me. XD

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