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the awesomely average life of a girl like all others

Don’t be a running snob


The other day, I got to witness a conversation among a group of runners. They talked about themed runs such as the Color Run and Tough Mudders and whether or not they were a good idea.

The good part: the majority of the runners who chimed in basically agree that the more running events the better, regardless of whether they’re obstacle runs or not.

But then there were the others – the runners who said stuff like “those events attract too many non-runners who should not be on the course” and “waste of time since it’s got a lot of distractions and so you can never get a PR”.

It’s during times like these that I wish some people weren’t allowed an internet connection.


I’m not saying these people should enter events they obviously have no interest in entering. The problem is that some of them were talking as if the fact that these events exist in the first place is a bad idea and they were giving out a shitty your-fun-is-ruining-my-fun and I’m-more-serious-about-running-than-you-are vibe.

As far as I see it, “fun runs” are the best thing to ever happen to running. A lot of people who run marathons these days started by entering 5km fun runs and realising they actually quite enjoyed it. If all we had were uber competitive long distance events, then who would enter them?

Not me. My first ever running event was a 12km fun run on Waiheke Island. Sure there was no coloured powder being thrown at us and no obstacles (unless you count my lack of fitness as an obstacle, in which case the whole thing was one giant obstacle course). It was running just for the hell of it. And it got me hooked.


A lot of my friends who don’t really enjoy running will consider entering stuff like the Colour Run and other fun events like that, because those other aspects of the event take the focus out of the running part of it. Probably because running feels like a pain in the ass and so the variations in those events allow for a distraction from that. And who knows? Maybe someone who doesn’t like running all that much will enter something like a Color Run and then get hooked on the whole crossing the finish line feeling and we’ll have another runner (this is basically my secret hope for everyone I know who’s ever told me they me they would enter one of these even though they don’t like running… but no pressure, you guys!).

If timing is really all you are about, then sure, stay out of themed runs. Don’t even go close to an obstacle course. But please don’t say these are a bad idea because then I’m going to have to write a blog post badmouthing you and I’m gonna go ahead and think you’re a massive snob. And this “ew…non-runners!” attitude? I don’t have any polite words for that. Was it really that long ago that you too were a “non-runner” entering your first event? If you’re going to say stuff like that, I’m going to want to see your Olympic medal rack first.


The most amazing thing about running as a sport or hobby is how democratic it is. Fast or slow, anyone can do it. Some people can only run 2 or 3km, others go to 5km, some will make it to a half marathon, eventually run a full marathon. Then some run ultras. Some run every day for years at a time. The one thing all those people have in common, though, is the fact that they are all runners. The really amazing thing I’ve discovered, through meeting different runners, is that no one will look down on you if you run slower and shorter distances than they do (or they do a really good job at disguising how lame they actually think I am). As far as other runners are concerned, you’re just one of them. I know a bunch of people who can’t run as far as I can and I know a bunch of people who can run a hell of a lot further than I can. I don’t feel superior or inferior in relation to them. But I do feel superior to who I was two and a half years ago, before my first running event.

There is always going to be someone better than you. And there is always going to be someone worse. As long as we’re better than who we were before, then it’s all good. Fast or slow, it doesn’t matter.

Just don’t be a jerk.


29 thoughts on “Don’t be a running snob

  1. As someone that doesn’t really run and rather does the sprint/walk combo…I support this message. I get a lot of crap for not running; I rather do Zumba. To each their own! Also, I’m jealous of runners, too. 🙂

  2. Oh, I love this post. One of the things about runners is that they always seem to encourage one another. I ran a 10km recently and as I passed a woman she said “nice job” to me. I also encouraged those who were still running to the turn around point as I came back, because I thought it was awesome that they were out there running. What other type of sport/event do people encourage one another like that. I have massive love for all runners…it doesn’t matter if you’re fast or slow. The distance is the distance.

  3. Running snobs bug me so much. “Oh no, more people will want to do my sport and I will have more opportunities to do it because it has become so popular, whatever will I do?” I don’t know anyone who does Color Runs or the other kinda gimmicky runs for time. They do it for the experience and to have fun. If someone wants to set a PR, they can do so at any of the other bazillion straight-up road races out there. Ugh, this is such a pet peeve of mine.

    I don’t do Color Runs or mud runs or obstacle runs or anything like that, mainly because I find them a bit too pricey, but I have no problem with their popularity. Anything that gets people off their couch and doing active things outside is okay in my book. I’m not going to get all bent out of shape because I don’t do them, because I, like most grown-ups, have learned that the entire world is not about me.

    Sorry to rant. I love this post and agree with you on all of it. Down with running snobs!

  4. Love this post, especially because i’m still in the group of ‘shit, this running thing is hard and it’s hot outside and i rather be doing yoga’. I think with the whole business of running alone, with a friend, in a themed run or a ‘run’ run, running is the most important thing, isn’t it? The trying hard to keep fit, to move around, to better yourself.

    I’ve never met a snob runner, thankfully everyone i know who runs, including you, are awesome people who are so proud of everything they have achieved and chose to share that pride by positively encouraging people to try it to.

    Good for you. And use, just that like first comment, i’m pea green with envy. You guys are all awesome 🙂

  5. lifting definitely has its share of snobs as well – in fact i’m sure most sports do. but i can’t tell you how many tumblr (yes, i creep on tumblr…) posts i’ve seen badmouthing people who don’t lift in fancy oly shoes or who pull sumo rather than conventional, or making fun of people who have less-than-perfect technique or who don’t move a lot of weight. my thoughts on all of that crap are basically: we were ALL there once. none of us popped out of the womb with sub-7:00 miles or beautiful ATG squats. the trials and the progress are part of what make it so easy to get hooked – there’s always something new on the horizon to shoot for. as long as some snobbish jerk doesn’t poop all over the fun.

  6. I LOVE this post, it sums up so much of my frustration in fitness. I love weight lifting, rock climbing, Zumba, running,…everything! It’s all good stuff, and shame on anyone who cops an attitude that one activity is superior. I hate seeing stuff on Tumbler and Pinterest that puts down people who prefer Zumba to weight lifting, or people who don’t CrossFit. The attitude that elitists have puts people off to fitness and makes my job as a personal trainer that much more difficult.

  7. This is seriously a good post, as per your usual. All the “fun” runs popping up are great, lets add more people into our awesome community, some will get hooked and some will be one and done. I won’t lie, I love speed and you’ll be hard pressed to get me to do a bunch of the fun color runs or obstacle runs. BUT that isn’t because I think I’m above them or they’re bad. My biggest reason is, I take my road running seriously right now and I’m a klutz, put me in an obstacle course and I’m most likely going to leave on a stretcher. No joke, I suck at those kind of things. I did a color run last fall with a friend who wanted to use that as a goal and help her get in shape. We had a blast come “race” day. It was a fun healthy way to spend time with a friend and I would totally do that again if I had friends to do it with, because healthy socialization is really what they are about and there is nothing wrong with that. People who think they’re bad are ignoring the fact that probably 2 in 5 of those people will get hooked and join the world of running and that’s a good thing. I don’t see how more runners is a bad thing.

  8. Agree agree agree!! I’m a back-of-the-packer/mid-packer at most every event I do and the first time I heard someone DRIVING HOME AFTER FINISHING pass me and yell “GREAT JOB!” out their car window I knew that, while snobs do exist, there are way more runners who are just supportive of anyone getting out there — which is the most motivating thing ever!

  9. It’s very refreshing to me how supportive the running community is as a whole. Of course, there are always those bad apples that spoil the bunch, but for the most part, runners want other runners to succeed. It’s too bad that some think they are above the others and don’t want to enjoy some of the “fun” aspects of the sport (honestly, I wouldn’t do a mud run, not because I think I’m too good for it, but because the idea of all that dirt makes me want to cry). It’s their loss.

  10. This is so true…just because it’s not for you doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to exist….I have watched a lot of new runners and kids, in particular, join the running ranks via events like this 🙂

  11. THANK YOU SO MUCH for writing on this topic. It irks me SO much to hear people disparaging on running events and the people new to the running scene. Not everyone is as rigid about setting PR’s and winning age categories as most people. It takes the fun out of the sport of running!

    And while we are on the subject, what the hell is a ‘Non-Runner’? It’s a term created by overly competitive and self-absorbed runners. It’s unfortunate and I wish they could see how ridiculous they seem when they speak so negatively about people trying to better their lives through running.

  12. I do themed runs with my kids. I doubt that I’d seek them out on my own, but they’re a great way to introduce kids to the sport. Snobs can be snobs about ANYTHING. To each their own.

  13. My boyfriend doesn’t run. Well he didn’t till he decided to enter The Colour Run with me. Now he’s training. Also, the only marathon I’ll do is Walt Disney World as it’s fun. Does it make me less of a runner because I have my pic taken with a mouse en route. Hell no. I trained, I ran 42km (actually 63km the second time). I lost my toenail. I ran a marathon.

  14. HEY! SPA LOVE! First off…YOURE HILARIOUS. love the gifs as well!!! I think its just like people and their music. they get all butt hurt when more people start to listen to their favourite bands lol! I totally agree with you. What if one of these silly races opens up a world of possibilities to just 1 person!? That would have been worth all the na sayers! great post! TWEETING IT!!

  15. I’m definitely a jerk. BUT, I don’t think that these events should not exist!! I just think that I should personally stay away from them. I just did a color run and didn’t like it because I really couldn’t run. Also I didn’t like people smoking and drinking beer in the start area before we left. That’s just me. I agree that these things are actually GOOD for running in general. If it weren’t for these events, my stepdaughter wouldn’t have had her first 5K.

    Sorry I’m a jerk, but I promise you I’m not a snob!

  16. GET OUT OF MY HEAD! 🙂 j/k! I absolutely LOVE this post and couldn’t agree more. Very well said. You rock in my book.

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  18. This post rocks! I typically stick to traditional races, but I’m actually doing The Color Run on Sunday because it’s something my husband, kids, and I can do together. Right now, they’re still small and aren’t interested in “real running” but are totally excited to do the Color Run.

  19. Love it! Some of my friends want to sign up for some sort of foam run thingy and the only thing stopping me is that Im too poor (a.k.a recent college grad) to blow my money on tons of races and I think Id rather do a longer race, the fun ones are shockingly pricey. I’ll definitely be there to cheer for them though!

  20. If these types of events help people to get fit and healthy then so be it.
    Yes I have done the colour run (I did it with my kids – never again, well not until they are older, too stressful, you can read more on my blog), and a tough mudder (i did this one on my own).
    But each to their own. If you want to have a bit of fun, then go for it. But if you want to get a pr, then you wouldn’t enter these types of events. You would enter an event where it was just running, where it will be just runners, and elite runners at that.

    So that’s my 2 cents worth.

  21. Totally agree – anything to get people outside and active! Plus, that colour run thing looks pretty fun.

  22. I completely agree, as someone who is trying to get back in to running and has just entered the colour run. It is nice to know there are some people out there who don’t look down on people like me who are still doing run walk intervals!
    I think I met a running snob, and the complete opposite last week and it inspired me to write this:


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  27. Read this in my dealing with a running snob…the girl that inspired me discourages me most!! It sucks but there are way more supportive people!!

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