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    Non-Runners or Future-Runners?

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    We’ve all met non-runners.  These are people who don’t currently run, are not interested in running, and may never run.  They may politely ask about your run on the weekend, but in the same sort of casual way as when they ask what smells good in the lunch room.

    Then there are Future-Runners.  In my experience, these are the people who ask you politely about running, then ask you a little more, then think about it, then come back and ask for more.  They try to be casual, but you can see them a mile away.

    Future-Runner (FR):  How far did you run this weekend?
    Me: I had an X km long run on Saturday.
    FR: X km?  All at once?  Huh.

    Then you can see the wheels turning for a while.

    FR: Wow.  How long does that take?
    Me:  Oh about …..
    FR: You run for that long?

    Then come the doubts.  I like to slowly poke holes in them one-by-one.

    FR: I could never do that.
    Me: I couldn’t either if I hadn’t been training.
    FR:  Huh.  Well I couldn’t make it to the end of my street!
    Me:  There was a time when I couldn’t either.  You work your way up slowly.  If I can, you sure could.
    FR:  Hmm.  Well how did you start out?

    This conversation progresses at various speeds depending on the person.  It may be several weeks before it gets to this point, but the Future-Runner will keep coming back for more.  Then they will start running.  Maybe not right away, maybe years from now, but they will!

    How do I know?  I was a Future-Runner myself once.  I remember the conversations; I remember trying to be casual.  I remember sitting in Dairy Queen with a friend and learning for the first time that he was a marathon runner.  I asked all about it and told him all the reasons why I could never do that.  Yet, that day, I remember deciding that I would.  I didn’t tell him, and it really was years before I took up running, but I did!

    So now I take a great interest in nurturing little seeds of interest when I see them.  I don’t push it, but I never waste an opportunity to encourage a Future-Runner!

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    A runner for just over four years, Karen has already completed a marathon, two half marathons and a variety of 5k and 10k races. She describes her first marathon - the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon last September - as "a nightmare." However, she met a very interesting person in the process - a man named Sydney who was running his 152nd marathon! Although the race didn't go as well as planned for Karen or Sydney, he showed her that no matter how experienced a runner you are, you can still have a bad day. "Does that mean we shouldn't bother to prepare, or maybe just shouldn't bother at all? Of course not!" says Karen. "In the end, it is what we make it." We like her optimism!