There aren’t too many professional sports in which a total unknown can just jump into the playing field and vault straight to international fame. It’s not like we can run onto the court during an NBA game and have the baskets we make count or run in from the sidelines at a Green Bay Packers game and score a touchdown to the cheers of adoring fans. To be clear, we’re totally capable of those feats, just…not allowed.
What’s crazy is that with the major running events it’s an open playing field. Anyone who qualifies can end up in the big marathons. Sure, most of the time it’s the elite names that take the top spots, but that’s not always the case. And anyone who works hard might feasibly end up on the podium.
At the Boston Marathon this month, that person was 26-year-old Sarah Sellers. Sellers took second place for women. And no one had ever heard of her. Sellers is a full-time nurse in Tucson, Arizona, and this was only the second marathon she’d ever run. But she ran as hard as she could through rain and wind, winning $75 thousand dollars while qualifying for the Olympic trials.
Sellers is just one glowing example of how accessible the sport of running is. She was a great runner in college, but after an injury sidelined her, she pursued other career options. She went to nursing school, shied away from running, and became the occasional recreational jogger. Then, several years after leaving college, her brother convinced her to run the Boston Marathon with him and she decided to begin training. She decided, if she was going to run it, she at least had to beat his time! So even though Sellers worked 10-hour shifts on her feet, she would run at 4 am and 8 pm, before and after work. She was often exhausted and it felt impossible at times, but she still found the strength every day to lace up her shoes.
Working is a big excuse many of us use to delay changing our lives. Yeah, we would start running! If we just had time! But we’re tired! Sarah Sellers is proof that a demanding full-time job isn’t the roadblock that we convince ourselves it is. We can make it work if we really want to.
Yes, we all have excuses that stop us from giving it our all and starting our running journey — but after witnessing all the amazing people we’ve profiled this month, most of those excuses no longer hold water. Today, we’ll break it down for you one last time: These are the excuses that can no longer stop you from getting out and running:
But the weather isn’t great! It’s kind of raining.
Look, I get it. When it rains I want to curl up in a ball of a thousand sweaters and read books while some sort of magical elf makes me hot chocolate. This is the most human and normal response to inclement weather. But, the reality is, a little rain isn’t so bad. At least when you remember the 2018 Boston Marathon.
Because this year, the conditions at that marathon were truly brutal. It was freezing, the temperature was in the 30s for most of the race. The rain was pouring, and the wind speed went up to 25mph. Many people found they couldn’t even handle being outside to watch the race, let alone spend hours running in it. Multiple runners had to be treated for hypothermia, it was so bad. And yet, Desi Linden pushed through the worst possible conditions and became the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon in 33 years.
Basically, it inspired the whole nation, and we never have the excuse that it’s “a little bit raining” again.
I’ve never done it before.
The idea of running a full marathon for the first time is pretty intimidating for most people. Unless, of course, you’re Erik Valiente, and you decide to do it on a dare.
Valiente had never run more than a mile when a friend challenged him to run a marathon. He decided to do it, and he fell in love with the sport. His first marathons weren’t great. He didn’t know what he was doing and didn’t have the money for a coach or fancy running clothes or shoes, but he did it anyway. Now he’s determined that everyone else can learn to run too.
Valiente runs a club in LA that has amateurs and professionals alike running around the city and pushing themselves while also experiencing the culture and awesome street art Los Angeles has to offer. What started as a group of about ten people, has grown to 500. Best of all, Valiente’s group, BlacklistLA, provides free coaches and training programs to beginning runners so that anyone, regardless of finances, can become a runner.
You don’t have to live in LA, either! Most cities in the US have some sort of running club or (many clubs) you can join up with to motivate you to go further. Sure, it’s challenging to take up running, but when you look around you, there are lots of resources to get you in the game, and many other people who want to help with accountability.
Never having run before should never be an excuse to just not try.
I’m busy and have a draining job.
I don’t have time to work out, I often think. I have an article about a Mcdonald’s dipping sauce due! And I have to spend time with family, and also watch an insane, disgusting amount of TV. “When, in my hundreds of hours of leisure, could I possibly fit in a run?” I tell myself, shrugging and making popcorn. But, (unsurprisingly) my commitments pale in comparison to NYPD’s Nicholas Fiore who gets out there and runs every day even with all of his (actually important) responsibilities.
Captain Fiore oversees 10 precinct detective squads in Brooklyn and still makes the time to run up to 10-20 miles a day. His schedule may be absolutely insane, and his job, one of the toughest around, but he keeps running a constant in his life.
“The subject matter can be draining,” he told Uproxx, “but if I got my run in, I feel accomplished no matter what shape the day takes.”
So whether we spend all day saving lives or catching up on our favorite shows, we can still make time to run. We just have to make it our constant.
It’s too hard.
It’s hard to motivate yourself to run. You’re tired in the morning, you’re sore, you live in a neighborhood with hills. I mean come on. Nobody said you’d have to do hills.
But whenever you’re thinking about how hard you have it, you can remember these runners who never gave up no matter how hard it got. Like New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin who, at the 2016 Olympic 5000 meter race, collided with another runner, American, Abbey D’Agostino. Both women struggled but they also showed incredible sportsmanship and an inability to quit.
D’Agostino was up first but she helped Hamblin back to her feet before taking off. And maybe the interaction would have ended there except it soon became clear that D’Agostino was badly injured. So, instead of trying to finish the race with a decent time, Hamblin helped her get her footing and encouraged her to finish the race. It was an epic testament to sportsmanship.
Or take Derek Redmond whose hamstring snapped halfway through the men’s 400-meter race at the Olympics in 1992. He decided to finish the run anyway, through excruciating pain, and in a tear-jerking moment, his father ran past security and walked him to the finish line.
Or, finally, look at Maickel Melamed from Venezuela. Melamed has a condition similar to muscular dystrophy. He has extremely low muscle tone and even walking is incredibly difficult. Which is why it’s so totally amazing that he’s run five marathons. His last, in Boston, took over 20 hours. And he just. refused. to. quit.
We all, at times, allow ourselves to get intimidated by how “hard” running is. But if you look at the length others have gone to get out there and finish a race, you’ll be reminded that we don’t have it all that bad. It’s a privilege to have the health to be a runner. And we can, at the very least, put in half an hour in the morning if we try.
It’s not fun.
Running can feel like this hardcore serious endeavor. But it doesn’t have to be. There are all sorts of ways to make it more social, pump better music, and find the joy in pushing yourself to your limits.
Photographer, Mark Hunter aka The Cobrasnake spent a decade photographing the beautiful people in the club scene in LA, but now, after a running journey made him healthier and happier, he wants to bring the party to fitness. Hunter is starting a movement — based on the idea that running is every bit as fun as camping out at a bar, and he hopes to change the game of how we see working out.
Running doesn’t have to be serious, Hunter says. It can be silly, it can be entertaining, and it can be the absolute best and most relaxing part of your day. You just have to change your mindset.
The biggest excuses that keep us from starting a running journey are rooted in our deepest insecurities. We’re afraid we won’t be good enough, that we’ll fail. And that’s hard to break through, the limits we put on ourselves tend to be the very toughest to leap over. One of the biggest sports legends of all time, Michael Jordan, once said ” I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
All you have to do is try. Get out there. Start running. It may take awhile. And you may never be the fastest man on earth. But you will break your own records if you work at it, you will get healthier, happier, and find your way to better you.
There aren’t any more excuses to not get out there and follow your dreams of becoming a runner. It’s time to just lace ’em up and go.