We encounter different types of people every day. Be it our boss, co-workers, fellow commuters, family, friends, or that respectful security officer that we pass by daily. Consciously or unconsciously, we are certain that the people around us are not the same. This affirms our intrinsic belief that everybody is unique in their own way.
The running community has a similar case as well. There are several kinds of runners who continuously gain our attention every time we participate in running events. Truth be told, there are facts about them that stand out in the crowd.
Would you recognize them in this article?
RUNNER # 1: The MONSTERS INC.
If you have joined many races before, I doubt you have missed the sight of them. Most of these monsters can be found near the starting line. Throughout my humble experience in joining races, I’ve always seen them wearing very simple race singlets/shirts and short running/cycling shorts. There’s nothing fancy on them aside from their GPS watches that monitors their HR and insane speed.
To put it plainly, they look… elite athletes. They look like those who’d hang out and have breakfast with Mo Farah, Haile Gebrselassie, Meb Keflezighi, Rafael Poliquit Jr, Mary Joy Tabal, and The Flash.
These runners make running look easy. They will be the first ones who would hit the U-turn routes even before flocks of “average” runners start arriving. They often run with police escorts or event marshals on motorcycles. A mere mortal like me comes across this funny feeling every time I see them going the opposite direction. It’s like they are saying: “Greetings, Earthling! I’m already done with the U-turn. Wait, you’re still there?”
RUNNER # 2: The SWISS ARMY KNIFE
These are “battle-ready” runners whose survival is top class priority. They have ALMOST EVERYTHING -from headlamps, visors, face masks, Yurbud earphones jacked in their cellphones (inside an armband of course), compression sleeves or tops, Fuel Belts with 2 -3 bottles, GU energy gels (or protein bars), GPS watches, compression shorts/ tights or running shorts paired with compression calf-sleeves or socks, colorful LED signal lights, and finally, a pair of shoes.
Honestly, I feel naked when I’m standing next to them.
RUNNER # 3: The AVENGERS
They are running groups or teams that ASSEMBLE together whenever they participate in events or train. They usually come in uniforms and take pictures (with poses) together before and after the race. It’s like having a typical High school barkada that hangs out together at any time. Running in teams or groups is a popular trend nowadays, especially when you’re the type who would only run when there is someone with you. Some runners aim to develop their skill set by being a part of a team or program that promotes camaraderie and competitiveness.
RUNNER # 4: The BANDITS
Have you seen someone running beside you without a race bib? You may have spotted a race bandit. What are Race Bandits, you say? These are unregistered runners who partake items that are meant for registered runners only. They utilize the same route and take hydrations at designated stations. With or without a good cause, running at events without registration is highly discouraged and prohibited by the running industry. Just imagine a scenario wherein an unregistered neighbor takes the LAST slice of cake exclusively reserved for you on the table.
RUNNER # 5: The cast of F.R.I.E.N.D.S
These are social groups who participate in running events to enjoy and try to be fit. “Running” isn’t really what they came for. They will run the first few kilometers then finish the rest of the remaining distance while chatting and taking pictures of one another. You’d often spot them participating on lower distance categories, Fun runs, or taking selfies around “X-Kilometer” signage posts. They serve as a reminder that runners, at some point, should take it slow and have fun.
RUNNER # 6: The SHOWSTOPPER
Colorful wigs? Muscle-ripped men wearing tutus? Superhero Costumes? Humongous afros? a beggar runner? There are runners who are just not satisfied with typical attires; they take theirs on another level. Some bring out crazy ideas to profess their individuality or advocacies in life. While plain runners like me are left with a “What the…” reaction, being uncommon is sometimes cool and liberating. It’s an added spice to your typical salsa.
RUNNER # 7: The PHOTOGENIC
CARPE DIEM. They are the type of runners who miraculously become recharged every time there is a photographer ahead. It doesn’t matter how far they’ve ran as long as they’d look good at that glorious moment. You may notice their vibrant look and liveliness at pictures, but deep down they are barely holding on. Just imagine their dismay over a blurred shot. Besides, who wouldn’t want a FREE picture?
RUNNER # 8: The THUNDERS
“Hey kid, I might be old but I still pack a mean punch!”
There is nothing more inspirational (and challenging) than witnessing elders who can still kick-ass every time they run. They can still complete long distances and, at some instances, outrun those who are younger than them. Take for example British Sikh marathoner Faura Singh. At the age of 92, he completed the 2003 Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 5 hours and 40 mins! The author of this article, whoever he may be, have not tried a full marathon yet. Singh’s feat only proved that for the elders of this sport, age is indeed just a number.
… Were you able to recognize them?