super generic girl

the awesomely average life of a girl like all others

Seven things you should never say to a runner


Runners say some pretty crazy stuff and I don’t judge non-runners for giving us weird looks and thinking we’re not really all there. We accept it, the weirdness comes with the awesomeness. But life would be a little easier if those who choose not to run weren’t so full of advice and stupid questions for runners.

In the hope of ensuring that we all remain friendly and I never have to throw my running water bottle at anyone’s face, let’s all agree that certain things shall never be said to runners ever again, okay? In no particular order, since they’re all equally enraging:

1. You ran a marathon? How many kilometers was it?

A marathon is 42km (or 26.2miles, depending on where in the world you are). The marathon distance is general knowledge and you wouldn’t go past $5 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire without knowing that one. Don’t ever ask me that again. Ever.


2. Did you win?

I’m a recreational runner. If I get a personal best, that’s winning. Hell, if I finish, that’s winning.

(and no, I didn’t win. Thanks for making me feel like a loser)


3. Yeah, I know how you feel after your marathon. I jogged for half an hour yesterday and my legs are killing me today. 

No, you most certainly do not know how I feel. I can’t even begin to describe how much you do not know how I feel. Instead I’m just going to wobble away from you so you don’t have to see the rage in my eyes.


4. I enter a marathon every year. It’s really not bad. The last one I did was a 5km along the beach.

A 5KM RUN IS NOT A MARATHON. A 10KM RUN IS NOT A MARATHON. A 20KM RUN IS NOT A MARATHON. Refer to the first point on this list for information on the marathon distance and stop bragging about having done something you have never actually done.


5. I don’t even like driving that far!

I’m glad you’re laziness makes you proud. Actually no, I’m not. It’s nothing to be proud of.


6. You shouldn’t run so much, you’re going to ruin your knees!

Please refer to this and then proceed to shut the hell up.


7. I’d love to get into running but I just don’t have the time.

I wrote about this a while ago here too. The assumption that I’ve got less going on in my life because I make time for running is rude and hinting at that makes you a bit of an asshole.




35 thoughts on “Seven things you should never say to a runner

  1. I like Star Trek marathons.

  2. The fact that so many people don’t understand that a marathon is a specific distance and not just a long run will never cease to be amusing to me.

  3. 8. I just don’t understand why you would do that to your body. Well I don’t understand why you think being a lazy ass is good for your body.

  4. Just last night at a party someone mentioned number 5 to me. It is terribly annoying when people ask stupid questions! Great post by the way!

  5. Haha! True… The last one is the one I can relate to most! 😉

  6. Oh my, yes! I get SO ANNOYED at the people saying marathon, when they really mean 5k. There is NOTHING wrong with 5k, but they are VERY different things! 🙂

  7. yes. this. my dad has been telling me that running is bad for me for three years now. i could have pain in my left eyeball and he would tell me it’s because of running. but in those 3 years since i started running regularly i have been sick once (ONCE!), have finished one degree and started the next, and have not punched anybody in the face. seemingly unrelated, but i owe all three of these, at leats in part, to running.

    ps you’re my favorite. daily laughs.

  8. AMEN. My frustration level skyrockets when I hear these things… and my ability to control my “you’re an idiot” looking face is impossible. NO patience for ignorance.

  9. #6 is the one that gets me the most. Great list!

  10. 2,4, and 4 are the most common non-marathon issues I deal with.

  11. This post is beautiful. Though I haven’t run a full so much of it applicable. I hate when people ask if you won because it makes you sound dumb if you didn’t…

  12. Hahaha I laughed out loud at this!! I also hate when people say “I wish I could run, but I can’t” You physically cannot? Or do you not WANT to? Because unless you’re under doctors orders NOT to run, I’m pretty sure you can get out there and start.

    I actually had someone tell me the other day that I can’t call myself a runner because I run for “fun” and run recreational races and that because he plays soccer and soccer involves running, he’s a runner and I’m not. Needless to say, I was NOT happy about that.

  13. Brilliant.
    I think I’ve heard most of these…..did you win is always a good one? Where did you place is also good – fine for smaller races but the Auckland Marathon with 1000s of people running it. you know I don’t know I’ve never been that bothered to go look at the final rankings….

    I also get the how are your knees, how are your ankles question the whole time and then it’s usually followed by a list of people who’s lives have been forever ruined by daring to run and that basically i’m doomed for thinking about running…..weirdly I’ve had very few injuries and hardly ever get sick. I just started writing a blog this week (inspired by your good self) and my 2nd post was about running to work with a cold – a very rare event as I don’t get sick that often – definitely not as much as many of the folk worrying about my ankles and knees.

    Oh and also I had this question the other day for the first time; What are you running from? Yeah need to work on a quick reply for that one….

    • That question kinda goes hand in hand with the age old “Why do you run?”
      I to have recently started a blog inspired by Super Generic Girl. I think it may be part of her evil plan of world domination!

  14. How many times have I heard the last one????? It’s not that difficult people, just get out and run!!!

  15. Reblogged this on Alan Parry and commented:
    This is awesome, thanks Super Generic Girl!!
    How many times have you heard number 7?

  16. This post is all sorts of equal parts hilarious and true. #5 is my personal favorite. My counter to that is usually, no one says you have to run – find something you love and do it – I don’t care if it’s Zumba or a walk around the neighborhood! People like to make excuses to us runners for why they aren’t runners. I’m not forcing you!!

  17. OMG SGG, I just laughed soooooo hard, at 7 strange intervals I actually got numerous people around the office asking me what was going on. This definitely goes down in my top 10 of SGG posts, or possibly top 5 actually!

  18. So true. I get the ‘you’re going to ruin your knees’ the most. Grrr!

  19. I definitely hear number 2 from my non runner friends! No I did not win, but I was happy with MY time. It placed me just ahead of mid pack if you must know. Mid pack in a race full of other runners is actually a bloody good effort that I am proud of!! It means that I not only beat a number of other people who share my passion and commitment, but we are all well ahead of your lazy ass sitting on the couch!!
    The other one I have got a lot recently after finishing a couple of half marathons is “so when will you run a marathon?” – Like it is that simple!!! It is not just another few steps, it is double the distance (Number 1) and something that anyone who has achieved should be extremely proud of!

    Wow, there’s my Runners Rant for today! Im off for a run to calm down, maybe I’ll win a 5km marathon, although that will probably be really bad for my knees which will end up killing me tomorrow, I’d drive but i don’t even like to drive that far!

  20. Haha I’m loving all the comments. Glad to see so many people share the same views on these and I’m not just an angry runner. Consider yourselves high-fived!

  21. Haha I love this! I can’t believe people actually think a 5k is a marathon!

  22. LOL. Fortunately there are a lot of runners in my company so I don’t get all of those stupid questions. The one that often stumps me is, why do you run? Well, how much time do you have? I could answer so many ways and some answers are a bit mystical.
    Great post.

  23. Honestly, I don’t mind answering the distance questions. Some people just don’t know. Maybe they should, but they don’t. I’m plenty ignorant about lots of other sports.

    But the ‘winning’ one….oohhh, that gets me. A former boss once asked me that, after I took a day off to travel to/run/return from the LA Marathon (from the East Coast of the US). Then he made some comment about it “not being worthwhile”. [Said boss & I did NOT get along, obv.]

    I also bristle at the “I can’ts” and “oh your knees!” type comments. Educate yourselves, proceed carefully, and build a support network. YOU CAN. Oy.

    Thanks for the laugh tonight!

  24. Baha! Brilliant, totally agree with all of those!

  25. I heard all of these during the Rotorua Marathon on Saturday:

    9. “You’re almost there!”
    No, I’m not almost fecking there! It’s still 6 freakin’ kilometres to the finish line you dick! I’m almost there when I can see the finish banner, okay? Now go back to eating your Big Mac.

    10. “You’re looking good!”
    This is one lie that is as transparent as your ability to run a marathon, dude.

    11. “You’re really getting value for money”
    Translated: God, you are sooo slow! Even though I’m tired, dehydrated, seeing spots and about to have a serious cramp, I can still hear that sarcasm.

    Love your blog!

    • Nice ones! I know it makes us sound like terribly angry people but, honestly, #9 in particular really gets on my nerves. Every time I hear “you’re almost there”, “almost done” or “not long to go” when I know for sure I’m not even close to being done, I want to stop and yell at them that lying is wrong and they shouldn’t do that to me! I know people think it’s encouraging and helpful but, really, it isn’t.

    • #10 is acceptable if it’s shouted by another person actively participating in the race. From anyone else, it’s super irritating.

  26. Just found your blog, thank you Google for bringing me something useful today! Im cracking up and nodding… even as a rec runner (like, I’m the picture in the dictionary of recreational runner). Keep it up!

  27. LOVE IT! I had to share it on my facebook.

  28. Um – I’m guilty of #10 in Simon’s comment when I’m not running a race but cheering friends on. Simon, is there anything I could say to encourage you that wouldn’t tick you off or would you rather I stood there ignoring you while waiting for my friends to run by so I can encourage them? Just wondering.

  29. How about the classic, “I only run if something’s chasing me.”

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