I’ve always been fascinated with the long-distance-running community. In high school, while I outright whimpered when I had to run repeat 400s, I watched incredulously as the cross-country runners ran hill after hill without breaking a sweat. And moving to fitness-obsessed Washington opened my eyes to the countless type-A folks who lace up their shoes and don their Lululemon gear to run six miles every morning.
Over time, through observing people on the road, I’ve come to recognize certain types of runners you’re sure to meet while pounding the pavement.
1) The “I really only want the fancy gear” Runner
Sports apparel is a fast-growing business, thanks in no small part to the “runner” who snatches up new shoes as soon as they hit the shelves. While that’s all well and good, the worst offense is seeing him wear Vibram FiveFinger minimalist shoes without ever running a mile in his life. (Consult our guide on how to progress safely to barefoot running shoes.)
2) The Exaggerator
This runner likes to boast of his or her times a little too much. Think Paul Ryan, who said his personal best marathon time was “a two-hour-and-fifty-something,” when it was actually four hours, one minute, and 25 seconds. There’s really no need to lie about your marathon time—whether you ran 26.2 miles or a 5K, the fact that you did it is worthy enough of praise.
3) The Talker
Some people turn into Chatty Cathy during a run—I am not one of them. These runners manage to run three miles all while telling me what they plan to make for dinner for the next five nights. They must have ridiculous lung capacities or something, so pardon me if I simply wheeze along and grunt in agreement.
4) The Overconfident Newbie
I think of this runner as a hybrid of the exaggerator and the fancy shoes runner. This person has been bit by the running bug so hard it’s all he or she talks about on Facebook and Twitter. Posts typically involve photos of her posing in front of the mirror in new workout gear, or announcements of how many miles he runs every single day. It’s okay, though—the more people exercising, the better, right?
5) The Stat Monger
In every running group there’s always one human calculator who can spout off every world record dating back to beginning of time. It’s impressive—and a tad weird. But mostly impressive, especially for folks like me who are math-handicapped or want to know how our current 10K time stacks up to the rest of our age group.
6) The Awkward Runner
There’s nothing worse than finding a buddy to run with and then realizing he looks like a squatting duck while running. (Check out the hilarious video “Don’t Be That Awkward Runner.”) The good news is the more times you run together, the more chances you’ll have to help him fix that terrible form before he injures himself.
What other types of runners have you come across? Share them in the comments section!