One of the things I’ve always said that distinguishes runners in the very best way is how supportive we are of each other. Even in a race environment, and certainly for us mortals who have no hopes of winning the race, we don’t compete against one another. We compete against our previous selves.
And while all this is true I’ve gotta say, every now and then I have to check my ego at the door. When I see someone who is getting faster, getting stronger, I sometimes feel threatened.
Don’t get me wrong. First and foremost I’m thrilled for and applaud a fellow athlete who realizes his or her goals. But every now and then I wonder. If someone else can do what I do, and do it faster than me, does it take away from my accomplishments as a runner? Does it somehow make me less special?
Ability and achievement in running as in any field are subject to both genetics as well as environmental conditions. Somebody else may be more gifted. Somebody else may be more driven. And somebody else will always be better. Not one of these facts diminish any of my personal victories any more so than they would for someone else who sees a peer develop and improve. On an intellectual level I completely get that.
But in an illogical, insecure, and thankfully miniscule part of my being, every now and then, I wonder.