I play golf, but I am not a golfer. I fish, but I am certainly not a fisherman. I run, but am I a runner?
I think the answer is yes. I will never be confused with an elite runner, or even a very good runner. Maybe someday I will flirt with a sub 2:10 half marathon: not fast, but my speed is not why I can be called a runner. Running is a different animal than many sports.
Anyone can go out and take swings at a golf ball, but unless you have a low handicap, most won’t put you in the category of “golfer.” Anyone can wet a line in the lake or pond, but it takes a lot more than that to become a fisherman. Running is different. To be a runner, you just have to run.
Anyone who puts forth the effort can certainly be considered a runner, and count themselves among the running community. I don’t subscribe to the attitude that you are not a runner unless you break 1:45 in a half marathon, or 25 minutes in the 5k, etc. To me, to be runner, you don’t have to be fast. You don’t have to be thin. You don’t even have to be particularly good at it. You just have to have the will to do it, and the dedication to keep doing it. That is yet another beauty of running. I may not be able to keep up with much of the running community, but that doesn’t mean I am not a part of it.
If nothing else, I can call myself a runner because I have said almost every one of the things in this video.