By Ambassador Matthew Carberry

I’ve never considered myself much of a runner. That is, I run, but until recently I treated runner more like a title reserved for… well, athletes. It was always intimidating, but once I learned how easy it is to be a runner, I’ve not only enjoyed it more, but performed better as well.

I finally got serious about running a couple of years ago. I had run a few 5ks on and off prior to 2012, but I wasn’t doing any long distances until I joined a running group with my girlfriend.

The running group is where I learned what it really means to be a runner, and how to become one in only one easy step:

Just run.

That’s right, it’s that simple. The only thing you need to do to be a runner is to go out there and run.

What I’ve realized from my group is that runners aren’t people with special genes. We aren’t all athletes, and we don’t train all day and night to be perfect. Sure there are lots of early mornings, and when we have a race to train for, we can’t always let the weather stop us, but in the end, we’d all much rather grab a beer after a race than guzzle a recovery shake and talk about our PRs.

The perception of being a runner has changed for me drastically. I know now that it doesn’t matter how fast you are or how far you run. The only thing that really matters is that you just run. It may have taken me a few years to realize I was a runner, but to become one, it only took me one step.

So there you have it. If you’ve been holding back on entering a race, or unsure about the commitment it takes to be a runner, stop. The only thing you need to do is go for it.

The best part about being a runner is that from the moment you start, you’ve already got a huge community of supporters behind you. We’re all out there, and we’re going to try to help you any way we can. We honk our horns, cheer you on and we stand on the sidelines in the cold all to push you forward. We’re all around you, and we know you can go just a little bit farther, even when you don’t think you can.

Speaking of going farther, I’m nervous about my first full marathon, but I’m well into training with my group, and I’m excited to be going on this journey with such great people. My health was the reason I began running, but my friends and the amazing community of fellow runners are the reason I continue.

About the Author: Matthew Carberry

Matthew is a 27-year-old runner on a never ending quest for a healthier, happier life. Growing up in the Humble/Atascocita area, he was mostly inactive and overweight. It wasn’t until the summer of 2012 that he found himself at a his most unhealthy and most unhappy state. Nervously, but intently, he began running and soon found himself completely enamored with running, not only for physical health, but for its cathartic properties as well. Since that point, he has lost nearly 40 pounds, completed his first half marathon, and faced and completed challenges he would never have dreamed he could.
Twitter – @matthewcarberry