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Runner or Jogger

Runners Define Their Pastime

Published March 23, 1998, in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

Webster's Dictionary of the American Language defines running as moving rapidly and in such a way that, for an instant, both feet are off the ground. The dictionary defines jogging as moving along at a slow, steady pace or trot.

Obviously, speed alone cannot separate a runner from a jogger.

In the '70s, George Sheehan wrote that the difference between a runner and a jogger was a race-entry blank.

To settle this question and put it to rest, I enlisted the help of several running experts. The result is a test that you can take in the privacy of your home.

Is "run" your password?

You know you are a runner if you run at least seven times each week. When the weather is very bad, you do your long run along the diagonal of your basement. When flying across the country, you run in place between the lavatories during the in-flight movie.

You know you are a runner if your vanity license plate has the word RUN somewhere on it. Your e-mail password is your latest 10K time. You named your dog Saucony and your cat Jazz. You named your first-born child adidas.

You know you are a runner if the most expensive piece in your living room is a treadmill, not a Stickley. For Christmas, you give everybody a used copy of "Running and Being." You decorate your tree with safety pins, race ribbons and bib numbers.

Never heard of 'em

You know you are a runner if you have never met your next-door neighbors, but you are on a first-name basis with all the dogs on your street. You carry dog biscuits on your long runs, and wash down any leftovers with a glass of Gatorade.

You know you are a runner if your freezer has Styrofoam cups of ice, one for each day of the week.

You know you are a runner if your car emergency kit is a pair of running shoes. When your car breaks down, you run to the nearest town, stopping on the way for two eggs, toast and coffee for $1.95, then resume the run to get help.

You know you are a runner when you wear old running shoes everywhere and all the time. You wear running shoes to your wedding, where the average marathon time of the bridal party is under 3 hours. The wedding-reception line is the finish chute of the nearest 10K race.

You know you are a runner if your idea of a family vacation is driving seven hours with three screaming children to run a marathon. While you run, your family shivers in the rain, cheering you on.

Knowing the landscape

You know you are a runner if you have located every water fountain and restroom in a 10-mile radius. At least once, you have failed to open the door in time, so you walked back home with a permanent smile on your face.

You know you are a runner if you have more running shoes in your closet than a dictator's wife. The soles of your newest pair of shoes were molded with a waffle iron. You keep a supply of Shoe Goo to plug any holes in your 1970 Tigers.

You know you are a runner if your wife reminds you constantly of the dangers of running, and how much the children will miss you if you get a heart attack during a race. She celebrates your latest stress fracture by throwing a party for your running friends.

Now that you know for sure that you are a runner, you can carry on running without a doubt or worry.

Kamal Jabbour's RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard every Monday. He maintains The Syracuse Running Page and receives email at

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