Tough as nails and as impervious to the cold as he is to every new fangled running technology in the marketplace: the Scot is a fearsome competitor. Whether it be snow, hail, sleet, hurricane or pouring rain, you will see the Scot in his trusty non-running T-Shirt and shorts (or kilt). As other runners start to drop from frostbite and hypothermia, the Scot starts to rue not having worn a vest instead of a T-shirt. The Scot shuns all modern products such as energy gels, isotonic drinks and recovery shakes, preferring to carry a 1lb bag of brown sugar and oats in his sporran. Contrary to popular opinion, the Scot does NOT eat porridge before a race, as he considers porridge to be a “soft option”. The Scot eats a combination of blood and intestine-based processed meats washed down with single malt whisky and on longer runs will also bring a black pudding and a knife.
The ticking time bomb
This guy has massive confidence, limitless ambitions but a stomach that is incapable of holding down any type of food. You’ll see this guy’s pale face running calmly for the first 20 miles of a marathon, and then you’ll see him in the bushes for the last 6, puking his guts out. After that you’ll see him in the St John’s Ambulance tent, puking his guts out. After that you’ll see him collecting his winning medal, puking his guts out. You can spot this guy with the following telltale signs:
- He will be white going on green
- He will have running gear that is not white
- He will be the only runner with a bib and “splashguard”
- He will have baby food instead of energy gels
The charity novice
This guy decides to become a runner, run the marathon and run for charity over some beers one night in the pub. He looks up training programmes on Runners World and picks the easiest one. He then proceeds to do about one tenth of it. He then chooses a charity which has clearly got absolutely f**k all to do with him, usually involving some rare female disorder not commonly found in Western countries, purely because they were the only charity where he only had to raise £1000. On race day he puts in a good 1/2 mile of running before walking 3 abreast for the rest of the marathon. The sad fact is that he makes up a good third of any large-scale city marathon. The happy fact is that people like him do raise a massive amount of money for a very worthy (although not relevant) cause. The sad fact is that he uses having “run” the marathon as an excuse for never, ever, ever doing any exercise again…ever. If he had run for the heart foundation it would be like making a deposit on his future life.
The vegan runner
As you may have noticed, some of these running types range from being mild exaggerations to just plain made up. But this one is actually very real, and I’ve seen lots of these guys and girls at races. The Vegan runners are the runners that have stopped and thought:
“I don’t think my 50 miles a week of training has allowed me to look emaciated enough. I’m going to take it a step further!”
And then they have also stopped and thought:
“I’m not spending enough of my time training and watching that what I eat supports my training, I’m going to increase the difficulty by a factor of ten!”
The fat guy
When I was 12 and doing “fun runs” in Australia, there was this one guy that entered every single one. I remember he was called John and he was from England, and he was always the fattest, always the slowest and more importantly, he was always there. Every single Sunday 10km would feature John. Race organisers would look at John’s time history and use it to judge how long the marshals would be told to stay out.
And John is exactly the awesome character that makes racing so much fun. I mean, lets be serious, how many people actually win these races? John was just happy to be up early, out of the house and spending time with his friends. And of course, out of all the people I raced against in Australia, he is the one I still remember all these years later!