It takes all shapes and sizes. I think that’s part of the beauty of this sport. The start line of any given 10k provides an incredibly diverse range of people.
Men, women, small, tall, fat, fit, old, young, black, white, straight, gay, rich and poor – they are nearly always represented at even the most bog-standard running event.
It’s part of what makes running stand-out. Think 5-a-side football pitches, the local bowling club, Zumba – can they boast anywhere near the level of diversity running can? Of course not. It’s probably why 35-year-old American Derek Mitchell took up running.
The Kansas resident weighed 545lbs and had developed a tumour when he turned to running last year.
There were many sports and activities he could have turned to address his obesity. But it was running that attracted him and running that celebrates him.
Last year he lost 80lbs after running 21 5k events. This year, he is vowing to run 30 races. He is now an inspiration on the American running scene. Can you imagine this in many other sports?
Even my own running club in humble Devon is a real mix. The ability levels run from those well capable of winning county championships to those beginners hoping to complete their first 10k.
Some are chief executives, some are binmen. There is an even mix of men and women. We are all shapes and sizes. But none of it matters. In fact, none of us give it a second thought in this sport. We are all runners.