What part does heritage play in running?


Heritage: something possessed as a result of one’s natural situation or birth

Is running part of your heritage, your history, your blood?

Some runners come from a long line of runners. Not me. While both my parents were athletic — skiing, swimming, playing tennis and golf — no one in my family was a runner.

And I don’t come from a heritage of running, either — in fact, a long time ago I wrote a post musing about whether or not I would be a runner had I lived in the 19th century (spoiler: no).

But who says you need to come from a heritage of runner to become a runner?

Heritage is not an easy word to use in the context of running (at least not for me). Sure, I could have made some other connection, I’m sure, since running isn’t the only thing I write about on the blog. Or maybe I could have written something about the Kenyans, who clearly do have a heritage of running — How Kenya Builds the Fastest Runners on Earth is just one post on the subject.

Look around you at your next race. How many people do you see that look like they come from a heritage of running? How many runners look like anything but a runner (probably myself included)!

It is one of the things I love about running: anyone can do it. All it takes is a willingness to show up, try, and keep showing up and trying.

One thing I know for sure
Heritage is only part of the equation when it comes to talent. Looks and physical attributes will only get you so far. How many coaches say give me the player with the biggest heart, not the most talented athlete?

I’ll leave you with these words from Barbra:

My nose was part of my heritage, and if I had the talent to sing and to act, why wasn’t that enough?
–Barbra Streisand



Deb Runs

Tell me in the comments:

Ever consider changing something that is part of your “heritage” (aka looks)?

Good genes or heart — which is more important?

Is there a running heritage in your family?

20 thoughts on “What part does heritage play in running?

  1. Train like a Kenyan and run uphill. Something to think about. I don’t have running in my heritage either, but I do have swimming. We were all raised as fish. ;D And I think heart is more important. If your heart isn’t in it, good genes are not going to see you through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have no choice but to train like a Kenyan! Actually, I don’t have a whole lot of choice in it either, but it’s still not as bad as where you live and there are a few flat paths. Or at least mostly flat.

      We were raised as fishes, too, and obviously I still love swimming. So many pools in this area are empty all the time — makes me want to scream because I want one so badly!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. No runners in my heritage that I know about. My parents played tennis when I was a kid and I have no talent for that! Did you read Sotomayor’s autobiography – really inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I haven’t read Sotomayor’s autobiography, but am not surprised that you have. πŸ™‚

      I have zero talent for pretty much anything athletic. I can swim, but it’s pretty much the same as running — sloooooowly.

      I am decent at yoga, but I’m not sure that’s really athletic. I was good at bowling when I did it regularly, but again, not so much athletic.


  3. No one in my large family was ever athletic in any way, except for my one older brother. Even looking back generations, no one. Nothing. Who would ever have guessed that I would be the trailblazer athlete! Hey, maybe the heritage part starts with me. You never know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most of my family WERE athletic, except for me.

      My brother is good, but he doesn’t really like organized sports — he likes to do the organizing.

      My sister was a very gifted swimmer (me, not so much, I just enjoy it). So much so there was a coach interested in training her for the Olympics, but my parents decided against it.

      I’m not sure my parents were athletes, but they were active (until probably around my age) and not afraid to try things.

      And then there was me . . . which is why my Dad, looking at a race photo of me once, said to my mom “who would’ve though she’d turn out to be the athlete in the family”?

      I’m still not sure I can claim that title, but I’m glad I found my passion for running.


  4. No one in my family was active in any kind of sports. Ever. Though I am not a runner but I lift weights (I like to build muscle). In my opinion, it would be amazing to look up to someone in the family and get inspired, but that doesn’t stop anyone who really wants to pursue any sport! Really like the thought you’ve put here!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s cool that y our parents ski, golf & play tennis. My parents were not active at all. Nada, zilch.

    No I had no role models. Good thing I had friends to talk me into tennis, running and golf. Golf had to go because I don’t have time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, my parents did that — but I didn’t. While they did take me skiing, which I hated, it quickly became apparent I was not athletic so they never gave me tennis or golf lessons like they did my siblings.

      I guess I’m just a late bloomer.


  6. My parents weren’t really active. My dad did get an exercise bike to lose weight but I used it more than he did. My second sister did run for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “It is one of the things I love about running: anyone can do it. All it takes is a willingness to show up, try, and keep showing up and trying.” Love this – you said it perfectly! I’d definitely pick heart over talent.

    Thanks for linking up!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s