Thursday, April 30, 2009

Non Runners- Why are they so Stupid?

This post has been a long time coming. It began percolating in my bemused little brain last year after the Bolder Boulder. A coworker and I were comparing our Bolder Boulder times when a third coworker interrupted our conversation with this: “Wow Ian, she almost beat you, and you’ve been running a lot longer than she has!” My time last year was 52:07, her time was 1:02:xx. How on earth do you consider losing by 10 minutes in a 10K race almost beating someone? I could have boiled 3 eggs at the finish line before she got there, one at a time! I mean we’re talking about a pace of 8:24 versus a pace of 10:00. If you were standing at the Mile 1 marker you would see me pass it and then a full minute and a half later you would see her pass it, that’s a lot of separation in a footrace.

I suppose that some of this can be attributed to not understanding the sport, but some of it is just basic math and it’s much more fun to call people idiots than it is to try to understand where they are coming from. Incidentally, I think that’s also the first rule for any kind of political punditry.

Anyway I was reminded how stupid non runners can be when I was talking to yet another coworker this past Monday about my January marathon (he brought it up, not me). He asked me if I had followed any kind of pacing strategy when running the marathon, which actually showed some promise that an intelligent discussion might ensue, but one didn’t. I told him that my goal was to start with a slow easy pace and then pick it up a little in the middle and late stages. He responded by saying “Oh, I see. So did you start at like a 12 minute mile pace and then finish at a 6 minute mile pace?” Yes, yes that’s exactly what I did.

Finally, this post really started to take shape when my wife updated her Facebook status with the number of weeks left until the Bolder Boulder 10K and a non running friend of ours commented “run a mile for me, I hate marathons!” I told Candis that she should let him know that a 10K was not a marathon, but she seems content to let his unenlightened mind believe that she is running a marathon. It’s easy to see why we’re together.

Then there’s the question that we’ve all heard at one point or another; “how long is a marathon?” or worse yet “how long is this marathon?” as though it might be a different distance in different states. So, let’s hear it in the comments, what stupid things have non runners said to you lately?


  1. You're an idiot.

    You're right. That is fun.

  2. Periodically I get asked "how many miles per hour do I run?" While interesting and - with some calculation - answerable, its not a typical unit of measure for a runner. I think those are treadmill runners that focus on that type of info.

    Oh, and you're an idiot. You and Viper are both right (for once!)

  3. I loved the "12 minute to 6 minute pace" comment! LOL!

    I hear, "how long is this marathon?" ALL. THE. TIME. Someone told me to spout random numbers everytime someone asks. 72.45 miles
    54.99 miles
    18.627 miles

    Someone once said to me, "I'm looking to sign up for a 5k Marathon soon." What? There are 5k marathons?

  4. Most the non-runners in my life have no concept of how long it actually takes to run a certain distance. "So you're running 20 miles tomorrow? So that'll take you, what, an hour and a half? Two hours?"

    Uh, yes, because I'm secretly a Kenyan.

    Also, like Nitmos, my grandma constantly asks me how many miles per hour I run. "You probably go AT LEAST 12 mph, right?" Then I laugh in my grandma's face.

  5. Hilarious! I'm glad I'm not the only one who deals with this on a regular basis.

    Example: I ran my first half marathon in March. Not only did I have to correct almost every one by telling them that "no, I did not run a marathon" but the first question I got asked when I got back to work was "Did you win?" I almost pulled my hair out! But instead calmly responded with, "No I didn't win. Only one person actually wins the race. I was with the other 6,999 finishers."

  6. Running will just kill your knees and feet... it's not healthy.

    Oh, wait... I've messed up my knees and feet now... could they be RIGHT? ;)

  7. people ask me the DUMBEST stuff. like, How long is this marathon, how far is a 10k or 5k, like if I WON THE RACE........

    Stupid people just don't understand.

  8. Because I'm running a marathon on May 17 I have been hearing "So how far is your marathon?" a lot lately. Sigh...

  9. I saw a guy in the gym a few days after a local 3k race. He told me that he saw me at the race, and that he was just getting back into running. I asked if he was planning on doing any other races, and he was like "I don't know, that was my first marathon since college, so I don't know if I'll be doing another one soon."

    I was like "Oh, you did a marathon recently? Which one?"

    To which he responded, "It was the same one you did - the Shamrock Shuffle."

    Are you kidding me!? It was a 3k - not even 2 miles! Makes me wonder what "marathons" he ran in college!

    Oh, and I pretty much told him he was an idiot, too.

  10. The one I get the most often is that old chestnut, "I only run if I'm being chased!" Then they look at me expectantly, thinking I will just die with the hilarity and originality of that statement.

    I recently had a non-runner refer to what I was doing as jogging, and I was deeply offended.

  11. When I explained to my dad that I ran a half marathon, I had to actually tell him how many miles that was. He was so impressed he told me I should write a book about it. I then had to explain that other people run these distances too. A lot of them. And a hell of a lot faster than me.

    He tries ever so hard to be proud of me and then I repeatedly have to crush his dreams. At least I'm consistent.

  12. My favourite is, "You know, women shouldn't run THAT much."

    Uh-huh, riiight. Because we all know it's 1920 and women's ovaries will fall out on long runs!

  13. "Then there’s the question that we’ve all heard at one point or another; “how long is a marathon?” or worse yet “how long is this marathon?” as though it might be a different distance in different states."

    yeah, what a bunch of idiots...haha...hehe.../, um, which marathons are we talking about, the 40k, 50k, 100k, 100k+ because I want to be in on the joke too?

  14. Gee, all I said was that I wanted to run a 401k and everybody started looking at me funny.

    Runners. Sheesh.

  15. I've probably heard a gazillion things of this nature, but when pressed to cite a specific example, I can't think of any.

  16. Great post. I hear above mentioned ones... "How far is this marathon?" and "did you win?"

    But, I've discovered another annoying question of late... I ran a marathon in St. Louis the Sunday BEFORE the marathon in my hometown (Nashville... which is on a Saturday) and I seriously had at least 6 people ask me after I got back from St. Louis (and told them all about that marathon experience) if I was running the marathon the next weekend in Nashville. When I said No, I've ran my marathon this time around. I actually had one douche bag call me a wuss! WTF?

  17. The one that annoys me the most is that GA Tech puts on the Pi 5K.
    I wrote them a letter and pulled my donation since they cannot figure out Pi and 5K are not equal. It annoys me to no end.

    I hear the marathon one all the time.

  18. Ignorance of running is acceptable. Unfortunately, it's usually accompanied by ignorance of economics, manners, the Constitution, grammar and syntax, traffic laws, the opposite sex, and the rate at which the human body absorbs alcohol.

  19. Is it possible that third, interrupting co-worker said "she almost beat you" just to get on your nerves? Because if so, WOW! not only "Mission Accomplished!" but MAN! that puppy is still paying dividends lo, these many months later. Which is probably way more than the co-worker could ever have hoped for.

    I bring this up only because I am heartened to hear of something - anything - in the financial services sector that is still paying dividends.

  20. Fortunately, I work with some pretty savvy and experienced runners and it’s a small office, so such comments are typically avoided. Except for one guy who manages to ignore all of us and simply embarrass himself. While discussing the Nike Women’s Marathon he asked if it was shorter than other marathons. After two marathoner runners and another coworker stared at him blankly, he said “You know, like hitting from the reds in golf.”

  21. i think, as runners, it is our duty to further the ignorance of the non-runner.

    when asked for the distance of the marathon, one should respond with something like, "oh, this is an olympic distance marathon" or "this is the world marathon majors standard [or wmm]" or something equally as cryptic. by throwing out a "standard" it makes it appear that there ARE different distances for the marathon.

    this will serve to make them feel more informed, but generate even wilder stares of disgust when they regurgitate the term to the next runner they bump into.

  22. I'm at work right now (a cesspool of stupid nonrunners) and I'm trying hard not to laugh outloud. I think that would give away the fact that they pay me to do nothing.

    I get the "did you run the marathon this weekend?" question all the time, after every local 5K in fact...

  23. "Run a mile for me"

    Yeah, and I'll drink a beer for you too asshole!

    There's a good reason I do not discuss quantum physics with rocket scientists and that should be reason enough for non-runners not to discuss running with me.

  24. I understand the common person not getting it ... there was a point where I didnt run and I didnt get it either.

    BUT what IRKS me is when local news channels have non-runners covering local races. Last year there was this woman (who irritates me anyway and is always assigned to dumb stories, so you know they put the lowest on the totem pole on the story) covering the Shamrock Shuffle (an 8K). She asked a runner if it was the first marathon he had ever done.


  25. My favorite is my dad. He used to run track in HS back in the day, and likes to give me advice on how to train.
    "Here's what you gotta do. You gotta find the MOTIVATION. Me, I chose the dirty Russians. Those commie bastards were all over the place in those days. So every run I did, I was chasing the Russian. I never timed myself, but I bet I could have run a 3 minute mile against that Russian. So maybe you have to find someone - maybe you chase Obama Bin Laden (yes, he did say OBAMA Bin Laden). And you run your 6 minute miles and you CATCH that dirty bastard. That's my advice."
    Thanks dad, at least talking to you is always good for a laugh.

  26. This is one of my favorite topics--people who are more stupid (stupider?) than me.
    My MIL once tried to console me about Brian's close HM finish to mine by telling me his legs are longer. That must be why Kara Goucher is faster than me, too.

  27. Some people are amazed that I'll run in the rain, like I'll melt or something.


    Don't get me started on distances. I try not to mention how far I run because then they look at me like I'm a vampire.

  28. Why not print out the paragraph labeled courses- ( and hang it up at work. Your co-workers who are interested in what you do will better understand what you are doing. You may even encourage someone to start the sport.
    At any rate, you will be less likely to have your drink spit in while you run to the bathroom next happy hour, that is if you get invited.
    Making fun of co-workers is never a good idea, even if they don't know what they are talking about.

  29. As a middle of the pack runner, my favorite, especially after running a marathon is "did you win?"

    Another one is that I'll hear how dangerous running is because it's bad for joints and tendons, but that same person will go bungee jumping, white water rafting, snowboarding, and so on. Hey, getting out of bed in the morning can be rather dangerous. I digress... :)

  30. I think "how long is a marathon?" is THE classic non-runner question. If I had a dime for everytime someone asked me that..I would have lots and lots of dimes! :D Funny post!

  31. How long is this marathon?Well, actually, there are marathons of differing distances. For instance, the Boston Marathon is the standard 26.2 miles. But, the Kaputa (Zambia) Marathon was only 2.5km. ROTFLOL!

  32. So how long is that 10k race again?

  33. When I ran the 1/2 Marathon recently no joke someone at work said, "did you win?"

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahahahahhah(you get the picture)

  34. Sigh. I do get that "how long is your marathon" question all the freaking time.

    My fave?

    "Doesn't it hurt?"

    Yeah. No shit, Sherlock.

  35. Love this post...I had a former coworker run a 5K, and then tell me her and her family would be "running marathons on Fathers Day weekend" would become a tradition...Mmmmmhmmmmmm, you do that.

  36. "Have you ever pooped on yourself? I hear everyone does that at the end of a marathon."

    Um, no. Ew.

  37. Favorites are:
    "You'll ruin your knees!!" to which I reply "Being morbidly obeses would hurt my knees too, so I just run."

    "I only run if being chased" hehe, trust me, you look like it!

  38. If I had a nickel for every time my in-laws told me about that one runner they knew that had to get a knee replacement, I could afford to buy a Garmin 405.

  39. I was actually running with someone who had an Nike IPOD chip in her shoe that she had never bothered to calibrate. We were doing a two mile speed run and I sprinted the last .10 of a mile to the end. When I turned around, she was walking to the finish. I asked her what happened.

    "Oh, my two miles ended back there. Your legs are longer than mine so my two miles is shorter than yours."

    I tried explaining that distance isn't a variable distance, but I couldn't stop laughing long enough to effectively explain it.

    Also, according to her Nike IPOD, we ran a 4:30 mile which would make us two of the fastest women in the world. Who knew?

  40. The one I enjoy is explaining the difference between gun time and chip time - as if I was just standing around and didn't know the race started!

  41. Being a runner, I've become adept at converting miles to kilometers in a quick and efficient manner.

    Thus, I get back at all of these retards when people ask me for directions.

    RunColo "Oh, King Soopers, go 1 kilometer south on Main Street, take a right on 1st Ave, go 2 Kilometers and you will see it on your left"

    You can tell it confuses people, but everyone that I have done that to is to proud to admit that they don't know how far a kilometer is.

    Sometimes I'll also use "Klick" you know, to spice it up.

  42. Pam Beesley "Pam: Michael, 5k means 5 kilometers not 5,000 miles."

  43. The worst I've gotten is the "how long is this marathon" question. Although, it's frustrating when it comes from my mom, who should know the answer very well by now.

  44. Many non-runners refer to all the running events I complete as "marathons", but I am cool with that.

    I'm generally not too critical of the non-runner crowd, as I expect to be rejoining their ranks one day.

  45. I was talking about a marathon with a friend the other day and he said "that's like 26 miles" and I said "no, it is like 26.2 miles"

  46. MY January marathon. you really should edit before you post.

  47. I also get people all the time who think all footraces are marathons. "Oh yes, my sister-in-law does marathons...I think she only does the shorter ones, though." I hate to be critical (actally, no I don't) but it's not that hard to put the info in your brain: marathon=26.2. Period.

  48. And I think non-runners are so stupid because they aren't getting enough oxygen to the brain. Nor do they spend an hour or more a day alone, hypnotized by one foot after the other, with their thoughts to really flesh fully-baked statements out.

  49. Comment from the sedentary: "Ha ha did you ever notice how runners never SMILE"

    The reply: Nobody complains that people don't smile when having sex or tasting something achingly delicious---they instead have a look of intense inward concentration on sheer physical pleasure. Running is the same.

    Total crap, of course. I don't smile because I can't spare the effort, and because it hurts and because I resent you, Mr. Nonrunner, sitting on your tuffet as you bounce by in your air-conditioned car, leaving me to ponder why I take up activities that don't allow me to have a cupholder beside me at all times.

  50. I am not sure if anyone mentioned this or not, but I hate it when people think we measure time in mph, not minutes per mile. Duh.

  51. Just yesterday my father-in-law asked me if I've run any marathons lately. I was like "umm, never actually but I have a 10k coming up" to which he replied "ahhh, so when is that marathon" I just told him the date of the 10k and let it slide.

  52. How far is your marathon?

    "26 miles."

    My brother did a half far is that?

    Pause. Take a breath...."well, that would be half of 26 or 13"

  53. My mother once reminded me to "wear my helmet" for my run. The end.

  54. Hahahahahahaha!
    & the tags are quite humorous as well.

    Here are some of mine to share:
    "Do you actually have fun running that much?"
    No Mr. Nonrunner, I just run 30 miles a week as punishment for my sins. Horrible. I'm Catholic afterall.
    "I'm kidding."
    "Oh!... Wait so you actually have fun?"

    After telling a friend I beat my time last year by 6 minutes: "I'm sorry, I know you've been running alot."
    "Uhmm...hahaha...don't worry about it. Thanks, though"

  55. It's not just non-runners. (And I truly adored the 401K run.) I once had a t-shirt for the Chuck Darwin 5000K. I'll give you a moment to think about it. OK, now I'll go on. It showed a proto-simian on the back and then progressively more "advanced" simians until you got to a human runner on the front of the shirt. Does everybody get it? Well, a runner (yes, one of us) asked where the race had been. I turned around to show him the full design of the shirt, praying he would grasp its evolutionary design. He did not. He continued to ask where the race had been. I gave up.

  56. I love it - when I ran my second 5k and was so jazzed about shaving off two minutes most people were just confused about if I ran a marathon in 33 minutes or not.

  57. Are all runners douchebags? Get off the road, or put on a helmet, and go with the flow of traffic in single file to the far right.

  58. lf - you're an idiot. I don't personally advocate running in traffic (I'll make an exception in your case) but running against the flow of traffic is the safest way to do it. It allows you to see the douchebag that is going to hit you, which is preferrable to not seeing him because if you're quick you can yell a few obscenities before eating chrome.

  59. Hahaha, the safest way to do it is to get your slow & douchie self off of the road. Jogging on a road against the flow of traffic is a clear sign of douchetardation, regardless of whether its slightly safer than going with the flow. If you want to run on a road the following laws should be made.

    a) Wear a helmet for that empty head of yours
    b) Either step off of the road for oncoming vehicles, and cyclists, or have some balls and go with the flow of traffic
    c) Get off the road before coming to a stop or walk.

    Better that you just get your arrogant ass off the roadway, and at the park, or sidewalk.

  60. I'm tempted not to respond again since reading comprehension obviously isn't your strong suit. (I already stated I don't run on roads or advocate it.) I'm also assuming that that lf and cyclista are the same brave anonymous commenter, brashly calling me out on the internet without so much as a link or an e-mail.

    From all of your pissing and moaning about runners taking up the road (and from your second pseudonym) I'm guessing that you're a cyclist, a cyclist with a proclivity for using the word 'douche' and a fan of hypocrisy presumably. You're obviously not a runner as you have no idea what you're talking about when it comes to running, which makes it even stranger that you've become obsessed with a small little running blog like mine. Thanks for the extra pageviews and I look forward to your next post since I'm sure it you'll be back to check on me again. I hope that you can work in some new uses of the word douche next time you return, I am quite enjoying it.

  61. lol @ the hot headed douche!

  62. LMAO! This post is ingenious! I will forward this to all my lovable yet annoying friends who just don't get this whole "running" thing I do. :) Thanks!

  63. Does anyone know where a copy of the "Chuck Darwin 5000 K" shirt can be found. I would love to get a copy.

  64. Jimpithecus:

    I wish I knew where to get one of the Chuck Darwin shirts nowadays. I'm not sure I can find mine in the piles of t-shirts dating from 1984.

    I do - of course - have a question: Are you sure you could wear it or even have it in your possession in your part of Tennessee without violating some law or three?

  65. Did you guys ever just think that people who don't run just don't care? I mean, I don't know all the intimate little details about things that don't interest me. Get off your high horse, everyone has their hobbies and we don't expect everyone else to know the intricacies of it.

  66. Could you f'ing runners be more pretentious/douchey??

    Seriously, this is why I despise runners.'s better for you.


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