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Mile Posts: There Is No JUST In 13.1

Over the past 10 or so years, I’ve worked more race expos than I can count. There is one takeaway that comes from every single expo that continues to blow my mind. The word JUST.

Me: What race distance are you running this weekend?

Runner: Just the half marathon. I know it’s not the marathon, but it’s long for me, and it’s going to be my first. I’m really proud of it, even though I know other people can run longer.

The half marathon is a long distance, period. It’s 13.1 miles, more miles than I drive most days.

I wondered if it was JUST me.

Do other runners think that running 13.1 miles is a long way to go? No, it’s not 26.2. But guess what it’s also not: 100 miles.

Does running 100 miles make someone more of a runner than me and my 28 marathons?

Does running marathons make you more of a runner than running half marathons, 10 milers, 10K’s or even 5k’s?

The answer is a resounding NO.

It’s easy in this age of non-stop comparisons…”Oh my kids potty trained at this age. Oh I ran up until I was x months pregnant. I’m running marathons in all 50 states. I got two promotions this year….yada yada yada… compare the distance you are running to what others are doing. But stop.

This past Sunday, I ran the Rock ‘N’ Roll San Antonio Half Marathon. I had planned on running the marathon, but because of time constraints, I decided I wanted to switch to the half and catch an earlier flight home. I was reminded over those 13.1 miles that a half marathon is a long way to go. Personally a marathon is easier any day of the week. I’m the type of runner that likes long slow pain, not when I have to pick up the pace and run for a shorter period of time. Does that make me less or more of a runner than someone who runs 5K’s or ultras? Neither! It makes me a runner. It makes me – me.

Next time someone asks you what race distance you are running – OWN IT. There is no JUST. It’s all running, and it’s all awesome.

Don’t let your mileage define you. We are runners and everyone has their own definition of what is short, what is long, and what makes them happy.

So tell me what do you consider long distance? Should we ditch the word JUST and OWN our races?


Mile Posts

Dorothy Beal is a mother of three little kids and loves just about anything and everything related to running. She is the creator of #irunthisbody and #dreambigrunlong and sells T-shirts at Dorothy started running in college as a way to lose weight literally and figuratively, and got hooked in the process. In 2003 she completed her first marathon and has run 30 of them since—taking her time from a 4:20 to a 3:11. She has been seen on the cover of Women's Running and Competitor Magazines and was featured in the Saucony Find Your Strong campaign. In 2014 Competitor Magazine named her one of 20 Runners You Should Follow On Social Media. Sharing her passion for running is one of the things she most enjoys behind being a mom. She's an ambassador for Garmin, Sparkly Soul Headbands and Nancy Rose Performance. You can find her writing about running and life on her personal blog at