Runners Judging Other Runners

(Same outfit, me in the white hat and green shirt!)

This is Part II of my thoughts regarding pacing and running.  You can see Part I here!

Recently Cool Running had a tweat asking runners if they feel that runners judge other runners based on looks.

Interesting, I hadn’t really thought about that.  My answer to the question is no, I do not think runners judge others based on looks.  Maybe it happens but I have not witnessed such behavior myself.

I do however, feel that runners judge other runners based on pace.

The first time I ever experienced a sort of left-out feeling because of my pace was during my first ever meet-up and group run.  People putting together the group run are fast runners.  They expected everyone to be running that same pace.  When I spoke up for myself saying that there would be no way I could run that distance in that amount of time AND still have time to get back to my room and get ready for the day, I was basically just ignored.  A few others from the group also spoke up by that point and said that they also could not run at that pace.

Still ignored.

No one acknowledged us or even suggested a second group run for those with different paces.

It sort of seemed like they expected everyone to run at their pace and if you can’t, well tough for you, you’re on your own then.

I didn’t run in that group run nor did I even want to by that point.  I talked to several others who also did not run that morning so it seemed like a lot of us got sidelined.

All because of different paces.

I probably could have started a second group myself but I was feeling meh about the whole situation so I didn’t.  I’m glad I did not because I would not have had time for a run that morning.  So it worked out in the end!

But that still doesn’t change the fact that some people can get really snotty over pace.  Yes I said it, snotty.

During lineup at a race, things can get a little crazy.  Yes there are pace corrals but by the end people are just squeezing in wherever they can fit.  That means that people with slower paces might be up with the faster paces at the start.  Last year at the half, I heard two guys bitching over some people who were not in the proper pace corral (GASP! THE HORROR!)!

“Look at them. Clearly they aren’t running that pace. What assholes, they should have been in the slower pace groups.”

Two guys saying this about two middle aged women who were running a half.  They know nothing about these women.  Maybe this is their first half or first race ever.  Maybe one of them is battling cancer.  Maybe they are running for their dad who is battling cancer.  Maybe this is a life long goal they are looking to achieve.  Maybe it’s a birthday goal for turning 45.  Who knows why but they were running it and good for them!

Who gives a flying flip if people aren’t in the right pace group to start?  A race always starts like a bottleneck and then people pace themselves, spread out, and everything flows nicely.  I have yet to be in a race that starts any other way.  So why get your tights in a twist?  Give it a minute for everyone to adjust and then get on with your badself.

You will live.  I promise.

Everybody runs at different paces.  Some people are fast, some are super fast, and others are not.  I can’t understand why this matters at all.  We all still go from Point A to Point B.  Running 5 miles is running 5 miles whether it takes you 30 minutes or an hour or two hours.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying to totally ignore pace.  It’s always good to have an idea of what your pace is because I personally believe it helps you better understand your body and the way it works.

I also think working on speed drills and such to help you become faster, if that is your goal, is a good thing.  Challenging ourselves and competing against ourselves makes us athletes.  I am all for challenging yourself to become better at whatever you do!

Turning your nose up and feeling superior over others just because you can run an 8 minute mile for a long time is just plain shitty sportsmanship.  Why have that kind of complex?  Where is that going to get you?

I would rather support!  I don’t care what your pace is and I don’t care if you’re a distance runner or a sprinter.  What is important is that you’re doing something you like to do and you’re doing it to better yourself in some way.  That is what matters.  Period.

Have you ever felt discriminated against just because of your pace?  Have you ever witnessed pace bashing before?  What are your thoughts on the matter?

11 thoughts on “Runners Judging Other Runners

  1. While I do sometimes grumble about slower runners who position themselves at the front of the starting line (that’s not about pace — it’s about the flow of the start and basic etiquette of not impeding people moving faster than you are, like in swimming lanes), I will say that it really bugs me when people try to say that “running” only happens if you’re covering a mile in <8 or <7 minutes. Come on, people, running is a gait, not a pace!

    That said, I have no problem with people calling my running "jogging" if they want and think a lot of people need to get their heads out of their digital watches and just go out for a run, for gods' sakes!

  2. I have never had that happen to me before, but I have been bumped into during a race, which is really annoying. I usually pace about a 10 minute mile but during a race, I don’t even like to wear a watch usually!

    I have however witnessed a lot of discrimination against walkers (or slower runners). Two of my aunts walk almost every race that I run in. I hear a lot of complaining from my fellow runners about walkers being “in the way” or “not starting far back enough” etc. not to mention most of the time when these people are done with the race, all the fruit, water and other refreshments at the end are GONE. Sometimes runners take everything and sometimes the race organizers pack up and leave before everyone is done.

    Aren’t we all doing good for our health? Don’t we all pay the same race fees? Can’t we all be a little nicer?

    I have had to navigate around walkers during a race before but honestly, it is not hard (for me) to do. I actually have a harder time getting around people toward the front of the pack because there are so many crammed in. But that’s just my experience.

  3. I am a slow runner and when I did races (many moons ago) I got tired of everyone asking my pace. I am slow and that is okay. I would put myself with the slower groups at the start and just go.

  4. I’ll be honest, I think running is a rather snooty sport. There are people out there who take it way to seriously and that is the main reason I don’t join running groups. To each his own, but I don’t want to be part of it.

    Having planned races and knowing both fast and slow runners I understand the frustration with having to weed through people at a race, however, people need to chill out. If someone is an elite runner then I say they should only choose elite events such as Boston to qualify and run in. If they plan to take part in a community race they need to understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them. If the race is open to walkers and runners they are just going to have to deal with it. On the same note slower runners and walkers should also respect faster ones and go to the back of the line even if there aren’t corals.

    As with most things I think there needs to be a level of respect and understanding on both ends. I don’t feel as though I have ever been discriminated against for pace, but I do purposely keep myself out of running groups. I just can’t handle people who take fitness so seriously, but I also don’t like people who goof off to much and don’t try. I guess I belong in the middle. :)

  5. Too bad about the running group thing. Our group is made of a group of people that are of varying running abilities. We make our weekend run a social one – we all run at a slow, comfortable pace together. We all do our other training runs during the week, whatever that entails.

    Your comment about the complaints of “fast runners” not wanting “slow” runners to line up in their corrals made me laugh… a few years ago, my son was in middle school, and our family was participating in a local 5K. He lined up near the front of the pack for the start, and one guy told him that only people that run faster than a 6 minute mile should be there. My son looked him in the eye and told him he WAS in the right spot, and then proceeded to smoke him in the race. Just goes to show you should never judge another runner by appearance (including age!) I know I’ve been passed many times in races by people much older, bigger, etc. than I am :)

  6. Brilliant post!!!! I couldn’t agree with you more on this topic.

    Like you I hover anywhere from a 10:30 – 12:30 pace. To some that’s very slow but believe me I work very hard (and sweat buckets) to move at that speed. That’s why it’s disheartening when people put others down for their pace. Truth be told I’ve stopped reading blogs and following people on Twitter due those attitudes.

    I think everyone who heads out for a run describes a tremendous amount of respect. Not everyone can be super speedy but that’s okay. We all deserve respect – whether we run a five minute mile or a twelve minute mile.

    This summer I will run my first half. My goal is to finish. I know it may not be pretty but I intend to leave it all out there. And when I cross that finish line I’m going to be proud because 13.1 is 13.1 no matter how fast you go! 

  7. I have not experienced this myself, but I think I kind of shut it out. I do know some people, who like Jenn said, think you are not a runner unless you run a certain clip. That is silly.

    It is awful that those guys were talking smack about those women. However, I ran a 3.5 miler last year and people I know did not start in the correct corral, and the race was so short and crowded (25K+ people) that it was a huge hazard. People were knocked over and walked on. So I do think people should make an effort to be in the correct corral, because it does not always even out.

  8. That’s unfortunate. People should be supportive of each other -no matter what the pace.

    The only time I really judged another runner was my first race. I was pretty slow (I’d had the flu for 2 weeks leading up to the race) and I saw old ladies passing me. I told myself “Run faster! That old lady with the knee braces is passing you!”

  9. I don’t think it’s only a running thing. I think it is also true of biking, and walking and other activities. Competition is tough and people don’t want others to impede them I guess.

    My grandfather always said – It’s nice to be nice, so I try.

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