When is it appropriate to call yourself a professional? Today at the bank, as I was cashing my check for breaking 18:30 at New Times, the banker asked me what I was doing out here in Arizona. Caught off guard, I awkwardly responded “running.. hopefully fast, trying to become a professional runner.” She looked at the check again, which stated how I had earned it, and responded “but aren’t you already being paid?”
At this point, with my total winnings reaching only $50, I would not consider myself a professional. However, one of my old teammates probably picks up around $3,000 a year from road races – can she be considered a professional? Or does being a professional imply that you have a steady income, not just sporadically from prize money? Some people, who I consider professional runners, are sponsored with gear and travel money, but no steady monetary payments. Should they be considered professional? Semi-professional?
For the yearbook in 4th grade we had to write what we wanted to be when we grew up. Most of the girls in class wrote supermodel or teacher.. I wrote professional runner. It’s a dream that I am still pursuing, but am happy to say I have never given up on. In the end it doesn’t really matter if I get sponsored or not. I run because I love it – and whether I run fast enough for someone else to pay for that dream or not, I will always be a runner.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer” – Harriet Tubman