Where Slow Runners Are Made Fun of.

So, I ran in the Soaring Eagle Boy Scout Half Marathon a little over a week ago. I am still having some knee pain from that race. Obviously it is because I wasn’t well trained and because I limped for 9 miles. I have been playing Dr. Google lately and I think that I have runner’s knee. And the only thing I can do to help it along is wait. I guess time does heal all wounds, including runner’s knee.

I am taking it easy now, but I am itching to sign up for the 46.5th Annual Churchill’s Half Marathon in November. The course will be absolutely gorgeous in the beginning of November with the fall colors on full display, I really don’t want to miss this race. But, I need to rest my knee. But, I need to train. Ah…I guess I wait out the injury I caused and see if there is time to train.

As long as I am on the topic of running, I seriously had my slow running feelings hurt at my half a week ago. Those of you who read often know I have asthma, a moderate heart condition and I’ve had 5 knee surgeries. I am obviously not meant for running, my body is built for couching.  Due to my under-training for the race, the humidity and my ailments, I walked about 1/4 of the first mile. As I was speed-walking along I heard a group running up behind me bashing those who were walking already.

These runners didn’t know anything about me and they also thought that I was jamming to my music and wouldn’t hear them. They made comments like:

“People shouldn’t run this distance if they can’t even make it a mile.”
“She’s not even walking very fast.”
“Why enter a race you can’t run.”

These kinds of comments still really make me angry. I have never claimed to be a fast runner. I have never claimed to be anything besides a slow runner. I am proud of being slow. Why? Because I could just be couching it instead of slowly running. Isn’t running slowly better than not running (or exercising) at all? Why would you poke fun at the people who don’t run as well as you do? Just because I have trouble running a full mile doesn’t mean I can’t make it all 13.1 of this race. Hell, I even ran a marathon last year (slowly)!

I think people need to take a step back and realize that not everyone was built with thighs that don’t touch, rock hard butts and 6 pack abs. Some of us struggle so much with food and body image every day that even getting out and running while our body jiggles is such an amazing accomplishment. For some of us, only having 1 cookie instead of 7 is a huge accomplishment. We all have different goals and different directions in life. For some, it is to walk/run races. For some, I guess it is to poke fun at those who cannot do what they do.

I hope that the ‘fast’ runners out there realize that just because we don’t run as fast as you doesn’t mean we aren’t trying just as hard.

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Comments

  1. This upsets me. This upsets me greatly because being a “runner” to me isn’t about speed or what distance a person does. It is a personal goal and achievement. I believe if a person is a true runner they don’t make comments about others like that. You know a runner when they cheer others on or go back to the finish line when they are done to cheer on the people finishing. Don’t let those kind of people get you down! Just go out and put one foot in front of the other and be proud of yourself! The real running community understands that 🙂

    • It bothers me too, Michele. I don’t know what they were thinking saying this out loud, or even thinking it at all. I pride myself for being able to run, even very slowly!
      Hell, who else can run a marathon in 6H 10M, haha!

  2. I’ve never experienced that myself. I’ve spent plenty of time at the back of the pack and it seems that MOST of the runners are encouraging. There was one race that I was at that they really hooted and hollered for the final finisher (she wasn’t moving very fast, but she got it DONE!).

    Don’t let a few bad apples ruin the whole bunch!

  3. That is just awful! I must admit that being a slow runner often stops me from entering anything that is not called a “fun run.” I don’t know why people are so rude. I love that T-shirt. Where can I get one?

    • I love trying to push myself at longer distances, and I won’t let them keep me away. But they were just rude. I’ve seen the shirt on zazzle and other make it yourself shops.

  4. Found your T-shirt shop. Totally going to buy one.

  5. I was once a faster runner in 07 and 08 up to 2011 some life events happen and I stopped running and gained allot of weight, since getting back into running the beginning of this year, I have been made fun of and It really has made me angry and I say stuff to them like big girls run too, or if They really piss me off I may use a few curse words. The lack of care and compassion in part of this world angers me to the core, I thinks that is why we have so many people in need across the world, because it is the folks like this that populate the earth that have nothing good to say about someone working hard to make a difference. Just imagine what a better world we would live in if the same folks that make fun of us actually cared, we would see drastic changes for the better in humanity. My husband has been there for me for a shoulder to cry on, I was thinking of writing a blog post like yours, but did not have the right words to put it together. Thanks for sharing, we all get better with time and persistence.

    • My post was written in the heat of an angered flashback. I’m just happy it made sense. Thank you very much and you are right, there should be more compassion for others.

  6. AMEN

  7. This is a great post, sorry you had to deal with such nastiness. I am so blessed to be apart of an awesome encouraging running community. We encourage every body type, every pace, walking and/or running to join us. I can’t imagine ever hearing such comments during a race! I hope you are able to balance rest and training before your next race. Keep up the hard work!

  8. There is a great shirt out right now that says, “My pace, my peace.” I’m sorry you were subjected to that trash talk. We’re all runners, regardless of pace. And “fast” is such a relative thing. The important thing is to keep on running, moving, walking, whatever!

  9. I’m sorry to hear that you ran into some unsupportive runners. They should know better. We all start from somewhere, and this sport is never easy. Some people can run a 5k in 20 minutes, others can’t. This doesn’t mean they aren’t true runners.

    As athletes, everyone should recognize that any effort is better than no effort, and that what I call my max effort doesn’t line up with every other runner’s abilities. If they have that mentality now, I feel bad for them if they ever get injured, because they sound like the type of people to give up in the face of any adversity.

    Keep doing what you are doing, and listen to your body. A slow finish is better than a DNF, is better than a DNS!

  10. I’m sorry that you experienced Running Snobs during a race. Their attitudes not only hurt you and running as a sport, but attitudes like that also contribute to those that end up just couching it. We should be encouraging ALL PEOPLE to get up, get out, and get moving. GAH, it makes me SO mad that this happened to you.

    I’m also a slow runner. I had a severe back injury in 2010 that didn’t get properly fixed until 2012. I have these grand dreams of running faster, but the truth is that I hold back a LOT because I’m nervous of reinjuring myself, of ending back up on the couch with all the cookies.

    I run — slowly — beside you in support. Don’t let those negative people bother you. Their nastiness will only come back around to bite them in the end.

    • They really were running snobs! I have run races in my area for 3 years and I have never heard anyone speaking ill of another runner, it was so surprising.
      I do like the idea of couching with all the cookies, but of course that isn’t the best option…even with an injury!
      Thanks for the slow running support!

  11. I may be slow, I’m often a walker, but I am always a cheerleader. I cheer so hard for the woman that pass me going the other direction “way to kick ass, you’re rocking this!” , I cheer on the other slowpokes with “lookin strong, you got this!” and I cheer on myself, “suck it up, buttercup! You got this!” When we put each other down, what is the point of running? I feel like I’m running the race with everyone out there – we’re a family and with a little love and a lotta luck we’ll all get to the end.

    This behavior, on the race course, at the gym, online is how we lose people. It’s how we keep people on their couches. Ladies, we MUST do better if we’re going to help us all get better, get healthier and get MOVING.

    • I am a walk/runner myself. I, too, cheer on everyone! Especially those in the back of the race with me. I typically make some good friends during my races, as we walk or run slowly.

  12. Very annoying and very unfair. Did they think you were in their way and should have been grouped with a different pace group perhaps?

    • Annoying indeed! None of the races around here have pace groups. They encourage everyone to start where they feel comfortable running. Me – I always stay at the ass end of the pack.

  13. I’m sorry you had to deal with that!

    I have run one half marathon (slowly) and am now recovering from hip surgery due to a congenital abnormality. I will go back to running, but I’ll never be fast. I was afraid that I’d be made fun of for that, and sometimes I feel self conscious, but mostly people have been very supportive. I hope in your future running you don’t encounter that again!

    We may be slow, but we’re running, dammit, and we can go the distance. That’s what matters.

    • I feel self conscious all the time, but I remind myself I am not running to impress anyone.
      I feel that slow runners have it harder than the elite or fast runners…it can take us twice as long to get through a course – we need more patience, practice and fueling than they do!

  14. Oh man… If I would have been the one those meanies were talking about, I would have whipped around so quickly their heads would have spun and then ripped them a new one.

  15. I’m sorry you even had to deal with that. I think it’s ridiculous. I had a fellow twitter girl one day go on and on about people who do 5ks shouldn’t call themselves runners and that it’s embarrassing that they’re excited to share that they’ve done a 5k. I unfollowed immediately without even replying and never looked back. I was so offended because I have zero desire to ever do longer distances. I just enjoy the atmosphere, I don’t go out looking for a pr or anything.

    I’m glad deep down you know they’re douchebags but hearing it doesn’t make it any easier. People are so judgemental.

  16. Whoa! Talk about rude – I can’t even imagine thinking that, not to mention saying something like that out loud!! Everyone starts at a different place, has a different race plan, and is dealing with different issues. Someone needs to tell these people if you can’t say something nice, keep your mouth shut! 🙂

  17. wow – so sorry you had to endure that. This was a great post, very heartfelt. We all have different journeys and reasons for running regardless of the pace. Keep your head up though – you’re doing what a lot of people sitting on the couch aren’t!

  18. You are a flippin’ ROCK STAR! Forget those snob runners and surround yourself with positive running peeps. It looks like you’re doing both. I’ve met some of the best people in the world by entering the running community. As well, I’ve met some jerks. Keep surrounding yourself with positive runners… it’s the only way that we continue to run happy!

    • Haha, thanks for the rock star comment! I know that 99% of the runners I have met are gracious and accepting of runners of varying speeds. It is that 1% that I just came across that rubbed me the wrong way.

  19. Yes yes yes!
    I am a slow runner too. I was getting faster but have since been plagued with injury. There is no need to judge anyone out there who is making the effort!
    On a related note, what about runners who use the Galloway method (run 4, walk 1 minute) for races? They don’t know you! Run on!
    ~Ang

    • Exactly! Don’t judge anyone who is making the effort! I don’t use Galloway method, but what if I did? Those punks need to keep their comments to themselves.

  20. That’s really rude of them! I see people walking in races and think “good for them!” And I have several friends I run with that are sometimes walking during our runs, and I just turn backwards and run in front of them backwards to keep them company (and work different muscles) and tell them they are doing great! If you are moving, you are doing great! Keep it up!

    • The race in question had a new ‘walking only’ category this year. Holy cow were those walkers fast! Some of these people were speed walking MUCH faster than I was running. I met a few of them and they were amazing! I love the friends I have made while running!

  21. I’m a run/walker at longer distances, and as long as the course is clear, I start my walk intervals in the first mile. I tend to blow past lots of other runners in the last mile or two of a half marathon, when I drop the run/walk intervals and run it in to the finish. I find that people tend not to know what to make of me, because I’m running fairly fast, I don’t look in distress, but then why am I walking?? Everybody runs their own race, and these busybodies just need to worry about themselves. My husband just walked his first 5k, and if anybody wanted to belittle him for walking, I’d ask them to take on some of his health and mobility issues and then try it themselves. Fortunately, he was part of a C25K program at a running store that was super supportive – not my mental image of intimidating running stores that I’ve had for years.

    • I pace myself a lot during the race, but then the last mile or half mile, depending on the distance, I really start going FAST. Well, fast for me! I love passing people at the finish line, not to be mean, but who doesn’t like to finish the race as strong as possible!

  22. Amanda, I am so sorry. Those assholes who made those comments do not represent the greater community of runners – and as you can see from all these comments, the good outweighs the bad. It is so sad that there are people out there who feel they have to spend their time talking about others. Clearly they have nothing better to do or no sense of self-worth.

    You are an inspiring and amazing runner. I’m sorry they said hurtful comments. Those words are not a representation of who you are!

  23. Screw those people! They represent a minority of runners that think they are “better” than others. And I absolutely hate that attitude. Anyone that is out there getting it done running for fitness, no matter how fast or how slow, is doing something that is healthy for their body and should be encouraged. Keep on running and next time if that happens, casually stick your foot out “on accident” as they pass.

  24. That’s crappy!!! I usually love this area for its running community but right now, I am very disappointed! There is no reason to judge others, none. We are all different in our abilities or journeys in racing. I ALWAYS encourage runners as I pass them. Who the F- cares how fast you go! As long as your not passing me AND in my age group, we’re good, lol!! Actually, I’m that annoying person, that even if you were, I’d still cheer you on! Come on people!! Amanda, you are amazing for doing as much as you are! Keep it up and get others to move!! If you can, after all that crap going on against you, so can anybody else!!

  25. Just you wait until one of them has an off race day, or heaven forbid gets an injury, and has to walk. They are clearly not experienced enough to know what makes running a truly great sport: we all race our own race, battle our own demons, and know our true accomplishments. I hope your knee starts to feel better soon!

  26. Mean-spirited comments like the ones you heard make me sad – runners are runners no matter what pace they run. Also, I think a certain level of respect needs to be had for slower runners – after all, they are out on the course and on their feet longer than anyone else!

  27. The world of ultrarunning, where we ALL walk, welcomes you!

  28. I am so, so, so sorry you had to hear that. And even more sorry that people feel that way. I am extremely self-conscious and am constantly plagued by fear of what people think of my slower pace. I have found so many amazingly supportive cheerleaders in the community, and it’s really brought me out of my shell, but a big reason why I don’t like running with anyone is that they’re going to judge my pace and that makes me so uncomfortable.

    In my experience, they are the exceptions rather than the rule, and their nasty attitude reflects more on them as human beings than it does on you, as a runner. Because you most certainly are a runner. Someone is always going to be slower and someone is always going to be faster. That’s just how it works.

    :hug:

  29. I’m sorry. Sigh. I don’t get the assholeness of saying those things. ugh.
    In 2010 as I was walking the last few miles of the Chicago marathon on the sidewalk cuz the street sweepers were already out, a women and her boyfriend were walking towards my husband and me. She whispered “but she’s walking”. As if my heart and body wasn’t hurting already I had to hear that from someone. I still finished but it’s the words I”ll remember from that day. I walked but I finished.

    • AH! I have had that happen to me twice. Not the street sweepers, but the race was mostly torn down at the finish already. I feel that pain. My heart hurts for your comment and I know how much it hurts, I have felt that pain.
      Great work finishing and keep your chin up Michel!

  30. I’m sorry you had to hear that…and frankly I believe that a “real runner” would NEVER make a comment like that. Runners as a community understand that not everyone can be the elite leaders-of-the-pack. It takes ALL kinds!! I am also a slower runner (9 min/mile average 5K time, but MUCH slower than that for longer distances…my Detroit Marathon finish time was 6h 13 min!), and I have never felt anything but support from my fellow runners. I live and run in your area too. I tend to think that people who make those comments are novice runners who are suffering from big egos. I just ran a trail race 25K yesterday and even though it took me over 3h to finish, everyone on the course was totally awesome….the few people I did manage to pass were very encouraging and I always try to return the favor!

    • Hello! I REALLY wanted to run the Oak Openings 25k…but my knee hurts and I didn’t want to risk serious injury. The weather was perfect for it!
      Your marathon time is only 3 min off from mine, so we keep the same pace.
      New blogger?
      What area are you from?

      I think they are the runners with the big egos as well, well, they are stupid. Simple as that!

  31. I completely agree! I’ve luckily never heard comments like that, but I’ve also so far only done two 5ks that were more on the “fun” side… but I am signed up for my first 10K – and I know full well that I cannot run the entire thing… I have a heart disease myself, so it’s just not physically possible. But I love the part where you say at least you’re out there doing it instead of sitting on the couch! For a long time, I wasn’t active… but I finally started to get active and I’d hate to be criticized for that.

    People should have some compassion – and also just mind their own business haha!

    Thanks for writing this, I hope it reminds people that even though we’re not all going the same pace – we’re all out there for the same reason.

  32. Wow, I know that would have really hurt my feelings as well.
    I always feel self conscious when I have to stop and walk for a bit, but I know that I have to listen to my body. Nobody knows how far I have already come OR how far I am willing to go.
    Congrats on getting out there and for fighting for you. 🙂
    Slow runners UNITE!! (at the very back corral)

    • It really shocked me that people actually thought this way!
      I have always ‘owned’ that I am a slow runner, I am proud that I can run at all. And I’ll be damned if someone is going to make me feel bad for doing my best!

  33. THANK YOU! I am running my first half marathon next month, and I was SO excited to see they added 30 minutes to the time, giving us 3:30 to finish. I think I’ll only need 3 hours, but the extra cushion makes me happy. I was not happy to see that time extension for “walkers”. At 13:45/mile I am still running, just not very fast!!! And to do it for 3 hours is still an accomplishment!!

  34. Wow. I just cannot imagine judging someone for walking. I mean really, who cares? More power to everyone who’s out there busting their tail at whatever pace! We all have our own story and our own journey. Far be it from me or anyone to judge.

  35. Hey! I stumbled over your comment on Marcia’s Healthy Slice and came here. Wow are people awful! I would have been too surprised to say anything to them either. They don’t know you! You could be doing Galloway intervals, or injured, or a walker, etc. I ran my Marathon last year on an inflamed ankle. 6 hours and 45 minutes later, but I crossed that finish line!

  36. Thank You so much for posting this. I have just recently started running (and yes, I am very slow) and I am participating in the Churchill’s Half Marathon this Saturday(got a really great price). I run a little and then walk a little until I finish my races. I am diabetic, am a bigger girl, and have some asthma and knee issues. I have been so afraid I would be embarrassed about finishing last or not at all. I don’t have the same goal as most. I am not trying to finish with a good time, I am just trying to finish! Reading this makes me feel a whole lot better.

    • Hello Erin, I hope you had a great time at the Churchill’s half! I wish I could have run it, but with the travel schedule I have at work, it isn’t in the cards. You should NEVER be embarrassed about finishing last. OR not at all. Guess how many people have the guts to get out and run 13 miles for fun? Not many at all. Think of how amazing that is!
      I rarely ever try for a time goal. My goal is almost always to finish, just finish.
      Hell, I finished my only marathon AFTER the time allotment for the race! They were tearing down the finish line when I crossed it. There was one runner behind me and then two people injured that walked. So I was very near dead last. I am still damn proud of that race. I did it. I have had 5 knee surgeries and I did it. I have a heart issue and I did it.
      Seriously, think of how bad ass you are every time you lace up your shoes. Think of how bad ass you are with every mile your body carries you.
      I am proud of you for getting out there with your knee, and asthma and being diabetic. As for weight, I have run for a while now and I have to say that people who weigh 3 times as much as me can haul ass! But think about it, they aren’t you. They don’t have your genetic makeup or injuries or issues. You are running for you and that is an amazing thing. Hope the race went well!!

      • I finished the race in 3 hours and 40 minutes with blisters all over my feet and I lived to tell about it. When I came around the corner and saw the finish line, I actually started crying because I had some people tell me I couldn’t do it. I made sure I was running when I crossed the finish line. Thank you for your response. It was really nice!

  37. Your style is so unique in comparison to other folks I’ve read stuff from.

    Thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark
    this blog.
    Leif recently posted…LeifMy Profile

  38. Hi Amanda,
    I just came across your Blog , twitter and Instagram as a result of your Ambassadorship (I think that’s a word?) for the GCM. First, thank you for what you do. I recently started running and after a few 5k’s I ran the Churchill’s half marathon. I wasn’t last in my age group (Male 57), but close to it. I have always felt encouraged by the faster runners, but “I” felt bad, like it was somehow a determent to the sport. But the more I run, the better I feel that I am a real “Runner”. I will never be fast, but i set my own goals and run my own race.

    I plan to run the GCM 1/2 marathon next April and have signed up for the 1/2 marathon training program that started the first week in January. Are you going to be par to that program?

    Hope to meet you at an event seem day.

    • Hi Rich!
      You are most welcome!
      I have felt encouraged 98% of the time at races and even just training. NW OH is amazing when it comes to our runners.
      Even today, I was feeling the envy of the faster runners. I was talking to a few people about qualifying for Boston and that will never happen to me. I let the envy fester and I got angry with myself. A friend actually reminded me that just yesterday I was telling people to not do that…funny how easily it is to get down on yourself, right?
      Yes, I am taking part in the Dave’s Marathon in Training for Glass City Marathon! But, I am doing it for the full. Please come up and say hello!!
      Amanda recently posted…Monday’s MotivationMy Profile

Trackbacks

  1. […] the slow: Reading this blog post, “Where Slow Runners Are Made Fun Of,” made me feel ashamed of my own attitude toward […]

  2. […] Where Slow Runners Are Made Fun Of by Amanda at There Are 2 Sides. Reading this post upset me, because while I have had great, inclusive, awesome experiences with the running community, I’ve also had at least one run in with a running snob. If my slow running (or, as another example that ticks me off: my underwear lines!) during a race are bothering you, you’re doing it wrong. As I tell my sons: Worry about yourself. I? Got this. Underwear lines, slow pace and all. […]

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