6 Annoying Things People Say To Runners


So you resolved to take up run­ning this year. Con­grat­u­la­tions! You’re going to love it. What you might not love is the stu­pid com­ments peo­ple will inevitably make.

Per­haps it’s because run­ning has been rapid­ly gain­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty since the 1970s, or maybe it’s because those who don’t run can’t fath­om why any­one would vol­un­tar­i­ly cov­er miles on their feet when cars have been around for centuries.

What­ev­er the rea­son, here are a few stock com­ments you’re going to hear soon­er or later: 

“Run For­est, Run!”
Ever since For­rest Gump’s life-long love inter­est, Jen­ny, shout­ed this phrase after her friend while he suc­cess­ful­ly out­ran a pack of bul­lies, peo­ple have been found this amus­ing to yell at any­one running–for any rea­son. This line is from a 1994 movie. Albeit, a fab­u­lous movie, the joke is nine­teen years old, folks. It wasn’t that fun­ny to begin with, and then it was annoy­ing. Now, it’s just uno­rig­i­nal. Okay, and it’s still annoying.

“Real­ly? You run? You don’t look like a run­ner.”
Ouch. What the hell is that sup­posed to mean? Do peo­ple real­ly think all run­ners are going to look like the professionals–tall, lanky, and impos­si­bly thin? Hell, most of us don’t meet any of those require­ments, let alone all three of them. How come peo­ple who swim for exer­cise aren’t expect­ed to look like Michael Phelps with zero per­cent body fat? C’mon, let’s focus on com­ing up with a less judg­men­tal com­ment, shall we?

“You Ran 5 miles?! I get tired just dri­ving 5 miles.”
Most run­ners have heard this (for a vari­ety of dis­tances) mul­ti­ple times, and each time, the per­son say­ing it thinks they are being clever and wit­ty. Full props to the first per­son who said this, as it was cre­ative and fun­ny then…but to the mil­lions of peo­ple who uttered it since, and will utter it again in the near future…boo! It’s one of the most over-used phras­es spo­ken between non-run­ners and run­ners. Most like­ly, this phrase was orig­i­nal­ly intend­ed as flat­tery, but after hear­ing it so many times, it starts sound­ing more like mock­ery or chastis­ing – like the run­ner is sim­ply ridicu­lous for vol­un­tar­i­ly run­ning such a distance.

“You ran a race last week­end, eh? Did you win?”
Ummmm…probably not. There is only one win­ner per race. Most races have at least a few hun­dred peo­ple, while many races have sev­er­al thou­sand. The odds of your bud­dy or cowork­er, who just hap­pens to run, will win any race they enter are near­ly laugh­able.  That’s like ask­ing any/every golfer you see if they could beat Tiger Woods at 18 holes. Odds are, if you do find a dude who answers, “Yes,” he’s just a delu­sion­al liar. Besides, most run­ners aren’t even try­ing to win; they are sim­ply rac­ing against them­selves. This is the whole appeal of the sport for many.

“How many marathons have you run?”
Sure, if you’re a marathon­er, this is your invi­ta­tion to puff your chest out and share your num­ber, but for the major­i­ty of run­ners who are not marathon­ers, this assump­tion only down­plays their accom­plish­ments. A marathon mea­sures many things in a per­son, but it is by no means the sole deter­mi­nate of a ‘real run­ner’.  Some­one with the pas­sion and ded­i­ca­tion to the sport to reg­u­lar­ly make time for run­ning and find enjoy­ment and sat­is­fac­tion in the results deserves the title of ‘run­ner’ as much as the guy who won the race over the weekend.

“You’re almost there!”
This is one of the most com­mon­ly yelled phras­es by those kind-heart­ed sup­port­ers cheer­ing on run­ners from the side­lines of races. Of course noth­ing but good inten­tions lay behind the phrase, but in all hon­esty folks, it’s not help­ful. When you’re absolute­ly exhaust­ed toward the end of the race, hear­ing ‘almost there’ only reminds you that you’re not actu­al­ly there yet. You’re still not done. You have to keep mov­ing; keep run­ning; keep strug­gling. ‘Almost there’ is also a very rel­e­vant term–what does each per­son con­sid­er ‘almost there’ any­way? A per­son on the side­lines may con­sid­er a mile to go as ‘almost done’, but to a run­ner, that is anoth­er eight min­utes of running–aka, an eter­ni­ty!

We’ve all prob­a­bly been guilty of utter­ing at least one of the annoy­ing phras­es from this list, and there’s no need to feel bad about it now–just remem­ber that it’s not too late to change your greet­ing, be a lit­tle more cre­ative and open-end­ed, and not be ‘that guy’ for the next run­ner you meet.

By: Audra Run­dle