I have been running since the early 90’s and have always experienced an atmosphere amongst the running community of friendly, helpful, encouraging, and supportive runners…you know the type…they’re the ones you meet during the last few kilometers of a race when you’ve got nothing left in the tank, when your legs feel like lead and you just want to stop running…like forever.
I speak of the encouraging runners who say things like: ” just a few more km to go…you can do it … good work, nice pace, run strong…you’re almost there”… and let’s not forget the wonderful supporters with the signs and clatter of the cow bell… ( love cow bell ) !!!
Never have I heard anyone berate another runner during a race. Never have I heard a runner “trash-talk” another, until now.
I won’t say which race, and I won’t describe in detail the individual, (you know who you are) … what I will do is give you the facts…
Fact: It was late in the race and I was running along side this “much younger” individual stride-for-stride for about 2km. Our pace quickens…
Fact: I am suddenly hit with a barrage of colorful expletives… They included such “gems” as: ”come on you (expletive) old man…is that all you’ve got…my (expletive) sister can run faster than you…you got nothing, you are nothing, you shouldn’t even be on this (expletive) course”.
Now it took me about 30 seconds to realize that I wasn’t on a basketball court, and that this guy was serious…he was talking “smack” to me…a fellow runner. All this time I am thinking…How could you? What gives you the right? Didn’t anyone tell you to respect your elders? In all my years of running I have never experienced such poor running etiquette. This person was clearly the exception, an anomaly, a deviation from the norm…not to mention a bit of a jerk.
Now to be honest, I really had to fight the urge to punch this guy in the throat, not to mention fire back a clever quip about his breeding, but thought that sort of a response would only give other runners a bad name.
I instead did what any other runner would do in that situation…I took the high road…I let the comments slide and I “turned the other cheek”, then another cheek, and another, and continued to do so until I left him staring at “my cheeks” for the remainder of the race… kind of “cheeky” of me I’ll admit, but I digress…
I will close with some sage advice. “if you don’t have anything nice to say about your fellow runner then you shouldn’t say anything at all” … oh, and don’t ever call us “seasoned” runners “old”… it kind of pisses us off !!!