1. Multi-eye disc-eye-plyne super athlete
This guy is running in a local 10km race because the wind is too much for surfing, too little for windsurfing, the football and rugby teams that he captains are having byes, his mountain and road bikes are being serviced, there is no Zumba class to lead. And the local pool is closed. And he feels like a “rest day”. With a bodyfat of -20%, he is a rippled torso of bronzed manflesh ready to effortlessly coast past you in the only sport you are actually any good at. Not that he cares, running is his 18th best discipline and he is distracted by the sound of female spectators fainting. Bastard.
2. The hunchback of Notre Dame
This guy makes Emil Zatopek look like a technique benchmark. He is the only runner you have seen whose hip rotation is over 180 degrees but is limited by his knuckles dragging along the ground. This guy’s technique is so bad that it is a miracle he moves forwards, as you really expect him to move sideways like a crab. If you need to overtake him it is important to give him at least 100m in each direction. And best do overtake him, as he clears every drink table that he passes. What really rubs it in is that this guy never gets injured, even if he is the main reason why there is a fence around the outside of your local running track.
3) The Underperformer
On the running track on a Tuesday night he smashes out the intervals like a man possessed. And he does twice the mileage of you and waits for you for at least six minutes at the end of the tempo run (muttering and looking at his watch). But come race day, it goes completely wrong. Every time. This guy is like a giant magnet for injury and disease the night before a race. He stress fractures on a parkrun, his appendix bursts in the half marathon and he is the only runner to get attacked by a “sexually aroused deer” in the Richmond Park 10km. He evens ruins his marathon by contracting the norovirus.
The Underperformer is the kind of guy where you drive over to his house to pick him up, only to find it has been cordoned off due to a sudden outbreak of the Ebloa virus, and you aren’t even surprised. He then becomes so paranoid about illness and injury that he starts wearing a “compression onesie” and partaking in pre-race animal sacrifices… Only to catch a rare virus from one of the animals; ruining his next race…
4) 80’s Man
Every now and then you’ll be lucky enough to see a runner that to all accounts appears to have been in hibernation for the last 30 years. With his handlebar moustache, mullet, track spikes that have long since been banned, knee high socks and hessian running shorts, you’ll see him at the start of the race downing salt tablets, eating pork scratchings and doing stretches that we all now know cause substantially more harm than good. He is the only one wearing a watch that isn’t digital and has attached the timing band to his wrist because he thinks it is for a free beer after or during the race.
5) Ex-special forces runner
He has a tattoo of a spider strangling a pig on his left massive bicep and a tattoo that reads “if you are reading this then you are probably about to die” on his right massive bicep and he is the only one in full camouflage, carrying a radio pack and in thickset army boots. You notice the “256” tattooed on his back and ask him if that is his marathon personal best? It turns out to be the number of people he has killed. With is bare hands. And it needs to be updated.
When you finish your marathon and you’re not sure whether you should just head straight to the hospital, he is smoking a filterless cigarette and reminiscing about how easy this all is compared to his special forces days. As he remarks to you:
“I remember finishing an SAS training marathon with 2 other recruits… After we finished my superior made us fight each other. The last one standing got the honour of running another marathon carrying the two losers…”