Don’t judge a runner by his waistline.

24 May

Just because a runner/triathlete competes in a Clydesdale or Athena division, don’t count them out for kicking some serious butt!

(For those not familiar, events with a “Clydesdale” division include male competitors over 200 pounds. Similarly, an “Athena” division includes female competitors over 150 pounds.)

The other day, while Brent and I were at the start of a run, I heard some more “elite” runners making comments about a heavier runner wearing a pair of Vibram Five Fingers. The comments were about how he will probably come in last (based on his size) and how much his feet must hurt running in VFF’s with all that weight and little cushion, etc. I was so mad and hurt. As runners, we should be supporting each other and NOT tearing each other down with our comments (whether those comments are made to someone’s face or behind their backs).

Many people who are eager to start a running habit are afraid to for their fear of looking too slow, silly, or too fat. I know. I have been there. And with comments like that, these fears ARE justified. People DO judge and it is a shame. We should all be proud of ourselves for getting out there and doing something to improve our physical and mental health! Remember, we were all newbies at some point. Let’s remind ourselves and our fellow runners to always be supportive and offer a pat on the back if someone looks like he/she is struggling.

Please don’t think I’m sitting up on a high horse here and saying I have never done it. We have ALL done it. I try to remember that when I find myself judging others, it only serves to broadcast to the world my own personal insecurities.

By the way, that “fat” runner in Vibram Five Fingers beat both Brent and me. You should have seen him hustling! I like to think of him as the PHAT runner in VFF’s! Go PHAT GUY!

If you heard a runner speaking poorly of another participant in a race, would you call them out?

10 Responses to “Don’t judge a runner by his waistline.”

  1. keyalus at 12:35 PM #

    Hi. Found you from Black Girls Run!

    I was reading a blog post/race review of a more elite runner in a local half I ran (she placed 2nd or something in the whole 19K person race). I was instantly turned off when she mentioned that some “fat” chicks wearing full pants (instead of those panty looking things) had somehow made their way into the corral with the elites.

    I was instantly turned off by her attitude and left the blog. I get having issues with slower runners in an elite corral but no need to dog someone about their weight. Plus her “fat” may very well have been something like your Athena division which could be a healthy weight depending on your height and body composition.

    Everyone is not born to excel at running (thus having that teeny tiny type of body) but we are all runners and running hard at our own level. If I heard that comment in person I might have said something if I were in a testy mood…but probably not.

  2. Kelly at 1:51 PM #

    I totally agree Katie. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  3. nycblackdoll at 8:11 PM #

    Great points. I agree – as in life, you have jerks, and also really great folks – finding the same in the running community. Elites with elitist attitudes are a turn off.

  4. Kevin at 8:48 PM #

    Great post. Im sure those “elite” runners wouldnt like it if a Kenyan, or winner of a marathon major made fun of them. Runners can come in all shapes, sizes, and speeds.

    • katieRUNSthis at 8:50 PM #

      You are absolutely right. EVERYONE has someone that is worse than him at something and someone that is better than him at something. People who take stabs at others need to remember that they aren’t untouchable.

  5. Matt at 1:38 PM #

    Can’t believe people would say something like that. As a runner, I try to lift everyone up. Just the fact that you are running at all should be reason to cheer…who cares how slow or fast, tall or short, big or small you are. Next time kick them with your five toed shoes!

  6. running on faith at 3:17 PM #

    It makes me sad that some runners choose to break each other down rather than support each other!! I always am so impressed by so called “heavier” runners for even having the courage to go out and try! There is a runner/athlete inside all of us and we should as a community should support all athletes who are working towards a healthier lifestyle, regardless of their physical appearances! Plus, some of the so called Clydesdale/Athena runners are pretty speedy!

  7. Carrie at 9:17 PM #

    Great post, thanks for writing it and getting it out there. People should watch their mouths…karma is a bitch…

  8. Lindsay at 4:05 PM #

    I stumbled onthis post by googling “vibram five fingers for newbies ” and just got pulled in by the title.

    I am a new street runner (used to run 5mi a day on a tread mill that I learned was VERY different). Anyways, my first race was a Ragnar relay. I am built like a runner – tall and thin and a lot people had just assumed I was some kick ass runner. I’m so not. I can’t run two miles without taking a walk. Anyways, I was slowing making my way up and down a crazy leg of the Ragnar and I couldn’t believe it when I saw a man the size of a football line backer haul ass past me!! It wasn’t me judging him for being “fat” but me totally being inspired by his weight and size an ability to literally haul it up a 3 mile 45 degree incline hill.

    • katieRUNSthis at 8:51 PM #

      Lindsay, thank you so much for coming by! (Shameless plug – I hope you come back often!) I’m telling you, no matter what size or shape you are, if you train the right way and train for the distance, a person can rock a race!! I’ve seen plenty of Clydesdales, Athenas, young kids, and senior citizens FLY past me. It just makes me want to work harder to catch up with them! 🙂

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