I recently read an article in Runner’s World magazine about the different connotations that the words “jogger” and “runner” have. The writer, Mark Remy, explains how the term “jogger” is almost always the preferred term used by media outlets when a crime happens to a person who had been running. It’s always the joggers who are raped, mugged, hit by cars, and who find the dead bodies along the trails. The word “runner” is rarely used when concerning crimes.
I found this article so interesting because it’s so true that the word “jogger” is almost always the preferred choice when it comes to the news. And the word “jogger” typically comes with a much more negative connotation than the word “runner.”
So what is it that determines which category we fall under? I consider myself a runner, not a jogger. But why? What makes a runner?
Do I need to run a certain pace to be a runner?
Must I wear a certain type of sneaker?
Must I run a certain number of days or hours per week?
Must I participate in a certain number of races?
Must I run through the wind and rain and winter weather?
Must I have completed at least a 10K? Half marathon? Full marathon?
What makes a runner?
And how is a jogger different? When I think of jogger, I think of someone who is running in order to lose weight, probably wearing gray sweat pants, and who is hobbling along rather than running smoothly, most likely out of breath. Or I think of someone who is just taking a very short, leisurely job along the beach, running with the intent of embracing the beauty around them more than focusing on the running itself.
The definition of the word “jogger” is to move or shake with a jerk or a push. So even the denotation of the word does not equate to smooth running.
Like many runners, I don’t like to be told that I’m a jogger. Jogger?, I think. No, I’m not a jogger. I RUN.
If someone calls me a jogger, it makes it seem less important, less significant. It makes my running seem like more of a little hobby than something that I take pretty seriously.
Running is a relatively significant part of my life. It’s what helps me to stay healthy and keep my Lyme under control. It helps me to relax after stressful days. It helps me to push myself to get faster and stronger so that I can get better at my race times. It allows me to take time out of my day to simply be alone and think about what ever is on my mind.
In light of the problems of the world, this bit of semantics really isn’t the most significant thing to write about, but it’s something that I found so intriguing upon reading that Runner’s World article.
Do other sports have similar situations where one word for the sport is much more negative? I’m not really sure.
And why is is that we runners aren’t the ones who are mugged and raped? Is it because we run at a fast enough pace that we’re not the ones attacked?
It’s only the slow joggers who get into these situations, obviously.
Of course I’m just kidding, but really, why can’t a runner be mentioned on the news when some of these events take place? It’s not like we runners are safe from being victims in a crime.
I think we should just phase the word “jogger” out of our vocabulary altogether. If you take the time to get outside or get on your treadmill and go for a run, then you should just consider yourself a runner.
It doesn’t matter if you are running a 12-minute pace. You’re still out there. You’re still running.
It doesn’t matter if the farthest you’ve ever run is 1 mile. You’re still running.
So let’s all embrace the term “runner.” I am a runner. Jogger? No. Definitely not.