9 Ways Spectators Annoy Runners–Has This Happened To You?

What is it about people who run professionally or as part of a regular exercise program that makes non-running individuals shout weird things at them? Is it the fact they are engaging in physical activity that does not involve the fingers only (think speed-texting) or maybe it’s the exquisitely intense facial expressions runners unconsciously adopt when pushing themselves to the edge? See if any of these misguided (but probably well-intentioned) remarks ring a bell with you:

  1. One of the most popular films ever also spawned a catchphrase that is routinely flung at anybody running for no apparent reason–“Run, Forrest, Run”! It is a 20 year old joke with runners representing its eternal catchphrase.
  2. Marathon runners cringe as they near the end of a race because they know they are going to hear THAT phrase–“You’re almost there”! When your muscles are cramping, sweat is pouring in your eyes and your heart feels like it’s going to burst from your chest like the creature from Alien, hearing that you’re “not there yet” is not something you want yelled at your already-pounding eardrums.
  3. “Hang in there”! Well-meaning but irritating in its triteness. If you don’t want to hear this, try wearing a shirt with the words “Silence Is Golden” emblazoned on the front and back.
  4. “Looking good”! This phrase is usually shouted as “loo-oo–ooking goo-oooood” and tends to echo in the mind of the runner for several days afterward, or until she screams “Enough”!
  5. Spectators who bring cowbells to marathons. These oddities should be corralled into their own area about five miles from the race and then–only then–given carte blanche to ring away. Agreed?
  6. “I’m exhausted just watching you run”. Unfortunately, these people do not realize runners get exhausted hearing this over and over and over….
  7. “Why are you walking”? Huh? You try running 10 miles without stopping and see if your lungs don’t curl up like roll-up bugs in your chest.
  8. “Hey, you in the pink (or blue, green, etc.) shirt”!  What do you want? Don’t you understand I am trying to win a race and I really don’t have time to chat? And with which pink, blue or green shirt (out of the hundreds of other pink, blue and green shirts) are trying to communicate?
  9. “Excuse me, do you have any Grey Poupon”? An oldie but a goodie spoken primarily by 80s culture fanatics over 40. Beware of spectators who look like Huey Lewis or Cyndi Lauper!