It is certainly fine to run and not race. We run in order to feel good and it is a healthy thing to do.
I started running when I was young. I just went out and ran. It was something I could do and did not require a lot of things or someone to do it with. I was always a self sufficient person.
Racing itself was introduced to me much later in life, just a few years back. Not that I didn’t know about it, but I had no interest and mostly due to lack of money. I did a 5K in college and a 10 miler and I ran them because I was peer pressure into doing them (because my friends were running in them).
I run not to be faster than others but to beat my own record. It was very natural for me to signup for a race when I started racing again. I found out about a local race and why not sign up and run. Though I don’t care much about records and the fastest time at my age now, but they are a way to keep track of my performance at the specific moment in time. I devoted a page to for the milestones of my running history, for the likes of what my personal best for a particular distance.
I have doing 5Ks, 10Ks, and soon the longer formats. Much longer races. My current quest is some day to do a 200 mile.
So far I have done a 100 miler: Rocky Raccoon
As for 50 milers: JFK (2019) was my first. Stone Mill ultra (2000), and Grayson Highlands (2021)
I did countless marathons (26.2 miles) and half marathons (13.1 miles) (currently 30+, but it will soon be 100+ in a few years). My goal is to run 50 marathons in 50 states. So far I have run in 7 states. A few of my favorites: Carlsbad Marathon in California, Jack & Jill’s Downhill Marathon in North Bend, Washington
I had a few 50k too, but I count them to be similar to marathons since the distance for 50K is almost the same as a marathon.
I am looking to run more and more races each year. Usually I prepare my schedule six months to a year in advance. I am into what is called a ‘race-cation’, which basically I look for places to go where I can run.
(I do hope when I have time to link to the particular pages)