Posted by: Kennedy | May 25, 2010

A runner’s rant

Last week, The Globe and Mail’s Dave McGinn wrote about the top 5 troublemakers at the gym. He described a personal trainer’s biggest pet peeves about their clients: those who show up late, those who inappropriately flirt, those who sabotage their fitness efforts with unhealthy food, those who never learn proper technique, and those who ‘over-share’ during their sessions.

It was an interesting read. And it inspired the topic of this blog post.

I generally think of myself as a pretty easygoing person. But when I run, there are a number of things other people do that make my skin crawl.

  1. Guys who honk their horn/catcall/stare: I DO NOT get this. Never mind the idiocy behind the idea of doing any of these things to get a woman’s attention, ever. At least I sort of understand (but don’t condone) the practice if a girl is dressed up for a night out on the town, strutting down the street in a pair of sexy pumps. But when I’m out for a run, I’m sweaty and red-faced with my hair in a messy ponytail. And hello – I’m exercising! I’m not stopping to ‘chat you up.’ Bottom line: it makes me uncomfortable. Just don’t do it.
  2. People who mock you: It’s pretty appalling, but I assure you it happens. Especially when I run with a friend. Sometimes it’s a comment: “Pick up the pace!” or the always-clever “Run Forrest, run!” Other times, people will start pretending to jog as you approach them on the sidewalk. Aside from being really weird, it’s extremely rude. I don’t make fun of you while you scarf down your Big Mac while you walk down the street. So please, be a gentleman and leave me to run in peace.
  3. People who walk in packs, at a snail’s pace: People who walk in groups often think they own the sidewalk. They are oblivious to what’s going on around them as they walk slo-o-o-owly down the street. Yes, I know it would be great if we stuck to the parks and side roads like good little runners. But you know what? Sometimes you have to run on busy streets to get to those parks. And when you take up the entire sidewalk, it means I have to either walk behind you until you kindly let me by or I have to risk my life dodging out in front of traffic to pass you. Please, just walk behind your friend for a few seconds so we can all get along.
  4. Other runners who get up in my grill: My grievances are not solely with bystanders. Oh, no. Some of the worst offenders are other runners. These folks are often less self-aware than most, and aren’t sure (or maybe just don’t care) when they invade my personal space. When I run, I like a good few feet on all sides to help me feel like I have freedom to move at my own pace. I don’t crowd others, and in return, I expect them not to crowd me. In races, this can be tough, and I’m a bit more forgiving. But when I’m out for a practice run with the Running Room, I want my space. There was an older gentleman who used to join my group on Sunday mornings, and he ALWAYS ran directly behind me. It was incredibly annoying – but it did help me improve my pace, as I tried to shake him off me. So in a way, I guess I should thank the guy.

I’m sure there are lots more pet peeves out there just waiting to irk me. But for now, these are my unforgivables.

What gets under your skin when you work out?



  1. I hate getting the staredown when I’m meeting another runner on the trail. I’m usually in shades, so your blatantly obvious gawking is not going unnoticed… ugh!

    • Definitely! I think staring in general is irritating. I didn’t realize so many people found running outdoors so bizarre!?

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