There are a diverse selection of different people that run. I’ve dedicated my next 2 posts to detailing some of the vibrant characters you may already have encountered…
The A-grade athletics guys
This guy has been running since the pyramids were built. His mother’s womb was actually a 400m track, and the sperm that did the most intervals was the impregnator. This is the guy who is never on the running forum, never discusses training, shoes, gels, running routes, injuries or core training. But he kicks your arse. Every time. You disgust him.
This guy’s approach is to do what he has done every day of his life: eat, sleep and train like a proper athlete. He has natural talent, and the kind of body that has never not been fit. These talents are combined with experience and serial-killer focus. These are the guys you see finish the local 10km race in 30-32 minutes. They are changed, showered and drinking a cocktail in white tie and spats by the time you have finished.
The crusty, ultramarathon-running nomad
If you did 40 miles this week, this guy did 400. If you got a PB on a marathon, he got a 100-miler PB. If you find you need to eat every 10 miles, he doesn’t need to eat until the 50 mile mark. And he doesn’t eat commercial energy gels.. Oh no, he eats raw chicken on the bone, and washes it down with whisky. He says it helps him in the next 4 hours. Also, he stores a tent in his beard for when he is doing a 500-miler and needs to get 15 minutes of rest. It is only 15 minutes because that is all he needs. The Comrades Marathon (54 miles) is like the local 5km to this guy. Except he doesn’t fly over to compete in it, he ferries to the North of Africa and runs down. Eating raw chicken all the way.
The barefoot runner
This is the guy that has read “Born to Run” and hasn’t realised that not only is Chris McDougall the least accurate or honest journalist in the world, but that he runs like a fat, incontinent seal on a bed of hot coals. The barefoot runner runs between 800m to 1 mile a week until he has to drive into the hospital to sort out some ailment that could easily be avoided using shoes.
The barefoot runner prefers not to train, but to spend all his energy clogging up running forums banging on about Vibrams (which are some bizarre type of monkey bondage condom) and “living in the moment”. The moment being about 10 minutes before they injure themselves in some way that a shoe would have helped them with. Some awesome quotes from barefoot runners:
“My Vibrams were awesome, I managed to run 1.5km for the first time last night.”
“Barefoot running is much better, I’ve only ruptured my Achilles tendom 3 times since I joined the movement!”
“I’ve gone 3 months now without glass in my foot. I’m so glad I gave up shoes!”
“A new personal best for 3km: 2 hours!”
A lot of guys say things like
“As long as I beat all the women, I don’t care!”
These guys haven’t been running very long. Every male runner has that moment where they do a local race and get effortlessly passed by dozens and then hundreds of awesome female runners. Get over it fellas, there are a lot of female runners out there that are stronger than you, fitter than you and can totally kick your arse.
The personal trainer
He’s buff, self-assured and has designed 500 different workouts that only use a piece of string and a hand whisk. When he’s not teaching the zumba class, partying people into shape, or leading the full body combat workout, he’s chilling at the astro-coffee-lounger bar sipping a powershake. Oh yeah. Only thing is: he is a terrible runner. He’s OK for the first 3 minutes, which is the longest he’s ever been on a treadmill. But as soon as he feels the wind he’ll stop to see what it is. And then he’ll get freaked out by the scenery changing while he runs. He’s the guy you see in the foetal position at the 2km drink stop of a 10km yelling “has anyone got a Powerbar? Why are there cars on the treadmill?!?!”
For more of these check out part 2.