What NOT to say to a Runner

I started drafting a post two weeks ago about things runners don’t want to hear the day after a race. I lost interest and forgot about it. I remembered it yesterday, after completing a half marathon. But it wasn’t something said to me after the race, it was during. My mind was blown at the lack of decency this person had.

John and I ran the Haunted Hustle half marathon together yesterday. Our plan was to have fun, no time goals, just 13.1 miles of fun. We dressed up in costumes, he was a wolf and I was the Little Red Riding Hood. We laughed through the entire thing, until about mile 11, when this woman, old enough to know better, pointed at us and said “Look at these two, walking, that’s depressing”.

It happened so fast, and I had been having so much fun that it didn’t process in my head right away. She said what? John was angry, he wanted to catch up to her and tell her off. I decided it wasn’t worth the energy. We had been having so much fun, I didn’t want this awful woman to ruin my day.

I do wish I would have seen her after the finish to tell her “Hey unkind lady, I completed Ironman in September, and ran a full marathon just 14 days ago. Yes, I took a little walk break at mile 11 today, my legs are tired”

Not that anyone should have to explain to anyone why they are walking in a long distance race. I know people who take a walk break in a 5k, and THAT’S OKAY. What if this was my first half marathon? What if I was battling a deadly disease? What if anything? I guess it’s lucky for the universe that she said it to me, and not to someone else who would have taken it more personally.

/End rant.

Despite that, it truly was the most fun I’ve ever had covering the 13.1 distance.

Pictures to come, and maybe a lighter, happier recap. 🙂


14 thoughts on “What NOT to say to a Runner

  1. I keep on telling new runners that there is no shame in walking! So many of them assume that if they have to stop and walk, the run is over. I would never have moved up to half marathon distance if I was ashamed to walk, and then start running again. That is what I love about really big races (like 30,000 people), there is no shame in walking, plenty do it. And back in the day when I was too ashamed to walk, those who walked and ran periodically would beat me because they were recharged!

  2. I think people forget how FEW people really and truly in the grand scheme of things participate in distance races. 13.1 miles is kind of a lot. Just sayin’. Anyone participating should be respected, not shamed. Good for you for having fun! (that’s why I’ll really only do Disney races. Almost everyone there is in it just for the fun of it!) Congrats on your NEWEST accomplishment! AND for having a great time! That’s what it’s all about! 🙂

  3. I don’t understand how someone would be so naive to think walking during a half means it’s depressing? Sure sometimes walking is depressing (like if you want to PR) but sometimes you do it just because who cares! It’s not like that lady was winning the race or anything anyways so what does it matter! Love your costumes, I am very impressed you were able to run in them!

  4. Gahh — no, not okay! Never okay! More importantly it sounds like she passed you..so at one point you were moving faster than her so she needs to STFU. How completely discouraging — imagine if someone who was running their first half [and, if so, mostly hitting PDRs with every step[ and overheard that…it would be heartbreaking! Wow.

    Kudos to you for not wasting the energy punching her if the throat!

  5. She just showed her ignorance there. I know tons of runners who use the Galloway run/walk method and average 8:00 miles that way! There is NOTHING wrong with walking. I ran my sub-two half with a couple quick walk breaks. She’s an idiot.

  6. This really gets to me that this lady would be so shallow and judgmental. Who freaking cares if someone walks or not?! And why the need to actually SAY something?? What a jerk.

  7. People like this really bug me, and I think she represents such a small segment of runners who are NOT supportive, and maybe that’s why it bugs me so much. You shouldn’t have to justify why you were walking to anyone, and she should learn to keep her mouth shut.

  8. Wow! What a jerk! I cannot believe someone had the nerve to say that! I’m glad you were able to still have fun! We all do what we can and when it comes to races, sometimes it’s not worth it to completely overexert yourself!

  9. How very unpleasant. She can’t be an experienced runner, she can’t. Running makes you many things: stronger, faster, more focused, but (and almost foremost)–it makes you, made me humble. There are so many things that affect how you perform during a run; and making fun of others who walk is like making fun of yourself in a week, month or year, when you hit the wall, overtrained, or feel this biting pain in a muscle you didn’t know existed. Sorry that happened.

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