If you are a runner and are reading this article, you might want to stop, print it out, put it into a pretty envelope and hand it to a loved one who is not a runner. Or, you can simply read this article and nod your head with a smug smile on your face. Your choice.

1. You’re a runner? I thought runners were supposed to be skinny.

I thought people asking questions were supposed to be polite. Runners come in all shapes and sizes. Go spectate a race if you need proof.

2. How long have you been a jogger? 

How long have you not known that runners run, not jog?

3. Sorry, there will no porta-potties along the marathon course. 

Sorry! It appears there will be many messes on the marathon course.

4. People die doing marathons. You should stop running and take up golf.

Since only 0.8 people out of 100,000 die during a marathon, it’s a risk worth taking. Odds are greater that I will be struck by lightning in my lifetime (1 out of 12,000 – most likely on a golf course).

5. I heard you are running your first half marathon. Do you think you will win?

The answer to this question is always “no,” unless you count getting a dry bagel and some water at the end of the race “winning.” But, that doesn’t mean that I am not a winner at life!

6. Why are you so bent out of shape about being injured? Just find something else to do. Running’s not that great anyway.

You are right. I will find something else to do, like punching people in the face. Running is my sanity.

7. I can’t believe you actually PAY someone so that you can run a race.

Running is better than paying $200 per month for insulin. I fully realize that there are people out there who require insulin as part of their daily routine for reasons beyond their control. That’s not what I am talking about. I simply mean that running can lead to a healthier lifestyle and offset the costs of an unhealthy lifestyle.

8. You’re almost there! (at mile 18 of a marathon)

A spectator should never lie and tell a runner that he or she is almost there, unless he or she is truly almost there. A good example of “almost there” is mile 26 of a marathon.

9. How far is that marathon you are doing?

“What is 26.2 miles?” This is the answer you will never get right on Jeopardy.

 10. You don’t look fast; are you?

Thanks for the compliment. Fast is relative. I am fast running next to the couch where most people are lying down eating chips.

11. My uncle’s friend ran the Chicago Marathon too. Did you see him?

Given that there were 40,000 finishers, including your uncle, the answer is “no” (unless he was the one in the Speedo).

12. I would run too, but I just don’t have the time.

These days, no one has the time; they have to make the time. If it is a priority, you will do it.

13. Running is bad for your knees.

No, arthritis is bad for your knees, and this is usually linked to genetics, not running (then send them to the experts at Live Science to get educated).

Anything else you should not say to a runner?

For more from Beth Risdon, visit Shut Up and Run!

Editor’s note: This article was updated on January 7, 2014, to provide more context regarding the mention of insulin in #7.


By Nichols