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Don’t talk down your 5K: celebrating your running achievements

Because one runner’s 5K might be another runner’s marathon

calgary marathon Photo by: Run Calgary

It’s easy to get caught up in the prestige of completing a marathon. Runners often hold the 42 km distance up as the ultimate running accomplishment, but while crossing the marathon finish line is significant in many runners’ lives, we shouldn’t overlook the shorter distances. The idea that someone’s effort, dedication and accomplishment should be measured solely by the distance they cover is a limiting perspective. Here at Canadian Running, we believe 5Ks deserve just as many accolades as any other distance, and here’s why.

Not everyone is at the same level

For someone who has recently started running, completing a 5K can be a monumental milestone. It may represent overcoming personal challenges or pushing through physical limitations. On the flip side, a 5K may not be as daunting for a seasoned runner, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. Each person’s running journey is unique, and it’s important to honour the progress made, regardless of the distance covered.

finish line
Photo: Andrew Geagan

Understanding personal circumstances

Life circumstances, injuries and health conditions can impact a person’s running achievements. What may seem like a small step for one runner could represent an enormous triumph for another. Someone recovering from an injury or managing a chronic illness might find completing a 5K an extraordinary achievement. It’s important not to underestimate the mental and physical determination required to conquer personal hurdles, regardless of the distance.

The power of speed and improvement

Running is not solely about distance. Some runners may have a natural inclination for shorter distances and achieve impressive times in a 5K. Training to run a fast 5K is hard work, and we should celebrate that dedication to training just as much as the endurance exhibited by marathon runners. 

Embracing diversity in running

The running community is made up of individuals from various backgrounds, body types, and capabilities. The idea that a marathon is the ultimate goal can be discouraging for those who may not have the desire, physical ability or time to train for it. By recognizing the accomplishments of all runners, regardless of the distance they cover, we foster an inclusive and supportive environment that encourages everyone to pursue their personal goals.

Whether it’s a 5K or a marathon, every step taken is a testament to a runner’s perseverance and commitment. So let’s not talk down the significance of a 5K, but rather celebrate it as an impressive accomplishment in its own right. Remember, in the world of running, it’s the stride that matters, not just the distance. Keep pushing, keep improving and celebrate every milestone!


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