I’m not moving from the third grade to the fourth grade.

I’m not playing townsperson No. 3 in the school play.

I’m not getting a meaningless new title at work.

I’m not finally at 1,000 followers on Instagram.

I’m making the time each day to work toward a goal. I’m pushing through when my body feels sore and my mind is screaming. I’m putting in hard work for weeks and weeks just to succeed on one day. I’m fighting to be the strongest version of myself.

I’m running, and I need your support.

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I know that as a runner, yes, I’m quite annoying at times. With the inspirational quotes, daily running logs, and photos of my dripping body, I know that I’m irritating to be friends with on social media.

I also know that I talk about running with my non-running companions more than I should. (But hey, it’s what I know best.)

My blisters, chafed skin and achy muscles aren’t topics you care to hear about, but I tell you anyway. I know you’re still not quite sure what a PR is after the near breathless race recounts I’ve given you.

Because of my annoying tendencies and, face it, because you sometimes feel bad about your less than perfect exercise habits, it’s easy to decline my invitations to be a spectator at my races.

But here’s three reasons why you should support me and all the runners in your life:

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I work my butt off for weeks on end only to live in the glory for one day.

I’m currently training for the Baltimore Marathon, and I’m following an 18-week training program. The culmination of my efforts will end with a marathon that will take about four hours (hopefully!) to complete; then it’s all over. I’m pushing my body beyond its limits for 126 days all for a few hours of glory. That type of effort is not only something that deserves support; it’s something that needs support to be sustained.

I recently raced the Freedom Fighters Half-Marathon through a national park. Besides one couple halfheartedly cheering me on while waiting for their loved one to run by, NO ONE was on the race course to cheer me on. It was a difficult and brand new experience for me. Even when I’ve run in big city races with lots of support, it saddened me to see other runners’ families cheering them on and holding up handmade signs for them while I had to rely on strangers to support me.

Knowing that my friends and family are making an effort to support me truly makes a difference on race day. It can be the difference between me slowing down to a walk or making it over the next hill.

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If I were running in the Olympics, yeah, you’d be there.

The races I diligently train for are like to Olympics to me; that’s how important they are to me. Small local race or national city race, they’re all of equal importance when I’ve put in the effort to train.

I know it’s not fun to wake up early and stand outside for hours just waiting for me to run by in a flash, but it means the world to me. It may be uncomfortable to wake before dawn and wait around in the heat or cold, but imagine how uncomfortable I am as I push my body harder than ever before with no one there to even care. Yes, I ultimately run for myself, but it makes a difference when you care that I’m reaching a goal and bettering myself.

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Running is more than my hobby; it’s my passion.

There’s a big difference between a hobby and a passion. A hobby is something a person casually enjoys in his or her spare time. A passion is something a person relentlessly pursues and makes time for.

You may not recognize how important running is to my life, but it’s part of my identity. When people say, “Tell me about yourself,” I always respond “I’m a runner.”

Running gets me out of bed early in the morning and requires me to be in bed rather early in the evening. I run when I’m going through a difficult time in my life, and I run when I’m happy. It’s there for me no matter what. I want you to be, too, especially on race day!

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How do you support the runners in your life?

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