I was reading a short passage from John Bingham on the definition of running. The short paragraph is as follows: “If you run. You are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for 20 years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” In Webster’s Dictionary, the definition covers a number of uses for the word run. The definitions that pertain to a person that runs are: “to go by moving the legs faster than walking;” “to compete in a race;” “to cause to run, move, compete, etc.;” “an act or period of running;” “the distance covered in running;” and “running” is defined as, “the act of one that runs; racing.”
It seems any form of moving faster than a walk is considered running. Even walking has a few different forms to describe the type of walking. There is power walking, striding, race walking and strolling as various forms of walking. I am not sure the reason people who are out on the roads or in a gym on the treadmill need to differentiate between the various forms of moving. Bingham probably says it best when any form of movement of the legs faster than walking is considered running. Then you look at race walking and some of the competitive race walkers are moving close to a six-minute-mile pace. The definition of moving the legs faster than walking cannot be used in this form of walking.
Some runners want to establish running in a race as a better definition of running. If you do not run fast you are considered a “jogger.” I am not sure what the pace has to be to be considered a jogger versus a runner. I have seen some of the runners that enter a race finish as what serious runners call jogging. But, the definition of run includes “to compete in a race.” Competing in a race makes you a runner according to the dictionary and Bingham. Some years ago a person could belong to the “National Jogging Association” and received a nice round cloth emblem of two joggers on it that you could sew on a shirt or jacket. The big letters “NJA” were on the bottom of the badge. Bingham’s definition of “no membership card” missed that one. And if a runner belongs to a Running Club there is usually a fee to join. The largest organization is probably the “Road Runners Club of America” and has a national convention each year.
Any person who has been in the military has heard, and participated in, a slow jog of conditioning called the “paratrooper shuffle.” I am not sure why the paratroopers are singled out. As far as I have seen almost every military branch has that “slow shuffle pace” in their conditioning program. For runners this is what jogging is. It is about the pace of a brisk walk and a little slower than what walkers call striding, or power walking.
The definition of “running” seems to have gotten more complicated as the years have gone by. There was a time early on that anyone seen running was called “crazy” for doing such a thing. That is why cars were invented. The latest definition of “crazy” for runners is anyone who runs a marathon of 26.2 miles. I can relate to that definition early in my running career and it lasted until I ran a marathon. At the time, I thought I was crazy for being talked into doing such a race. Then after a few more marathons, it was just another long race.
Why some runners need to categorize or classify the different types of walking, jogging, or running is a matter of personal clarification. Anytime a person is moving on their legs, it is good exercise. If the person needs a definition to do what they are doing other than the word exercise, it is up to them to decide how they want to describe moving.
There is one other point that causes some disagreement in running. The difference is “Why are you running?” An elite runner enters a race to finish in a desired time. An average runner enters to finish. When an elite runner quits in the middle of the race after realizing they are not going to come close to the desired time the average runner just cannot understand why a good runner quits. Both runners had goals. The goals were different and one runner did not meet their goal of a fixed time versus the other runner’s goal, which was just to finish. Definitions aside the key is to walk, jog, or run and move.