We have all been there. You are standing amongst hundreds of runners at the starting line of a race, waiting for the signal to begin, and somehow you find yourself placed next to a woman who not only decided to adorn herself with full makeup and jewelry for the race, but she also decided to pile on the perfume. Perfect.

When we run, we breathe in so deeply that smells affect us twice as much than if we were to encounter them out of the context of exercising.

These are some of the worst smells that I find personally offensive while out on a run:

  1. Body Odor. No one enjoys body odor at any time, but when I’m racing and get behind someone that has forgotten their deodorant that morning, it sometimes makes me want to gag.
  2. Perfume. As I stated before, perfume really bothers me while I’m racing. I am a fan of perfume on a normal day, but running through a thick cloud of it can almost stop me dead in my tracks.
  3. Smoke. When I’m running down a rural road, and people are burning yard debris or the leaves in their ditches, I try to hold my breath and sprint past the giant gray cloud. This also goes for smokers that pass me in their car. It’s hard to believe that one cigarette can create so much odor when you are out in the open air, but it seems to hang in the air forever.
  4. Dead animals. During the summer, when the ditches don’t get mowed down on a regular basis, dead animals can be completely hidden in the tall grasses and you don’t know they are there until you run right up on them. On a hot and humid day, the odor from one of these rascals can be enough to knock you down!
  5. Manure. Living in a country setting, it is a commonplace to have farmers spread manure on their fields several times a year to help the crops grow. Smelling it when I’m in my yard is not bad, but while running it can completely be overpowering at times. I have grown used to it, but there are those really hot days where it brings tears to your eyes.

I’ve learned a trick to keeping some of these smells at bay when I’m out running. A small layer of Vicks Vapor rub right under the nostrils can make everything smell minty and help omit the odors encountered in the country.


By Nichols