Are You One of These 4 Insanely Irritating Runners?

As far as people watching goes, race day is one of the few things that rivals a trip to Walmart. There are so many different types of runners, it’s an endless parade of entertainment!

With the good, we also must take the bad. In running as in real life, we sometimes encounter people who are absolute tools.

Are you one of these? If so, knock it the <bleep> off. You’re not making any friends.

The Showoff

We’ve all seen them: Runners who wear a finisher’s shirt from an ultramarathon or Ironman triathlon to a 5K.

Apparently, we’re supposed to be impressed that someone of such high and lofty status is gracing a meager little distance. Bonus tool-itude points if they’re wearing compression to a short-distance race, or if they brag about the shorter race being their “cooldown” from their intense workout earlier that morning.

Don’t Be a Tool:

When I first started running, one of my mentors told me something very, very important about race-day wear: Never dress more than one step up from your event. If you’re running a 5K, don’t wear a finisher’s shirt advertising anything more than a 10K. For 10K, the cut-off is a half-marathon. Catch my drift?

The iRunner

Someone recently told me about a guy who runs marathons while live-streaming the experience through Skype, Twitter, iPhone cameras…I had to jump online immediately to find out more!

Now, dear reader…I’m not one to judge people based on the first time I see them, but when this man’s picture popped up on my computer screen, I instantly labeled him the King of the Tools and wished I could dump a bucket of water over his head.

For something as beautifully simple as running, lately I’ve been seeing an influx of technology during races. People stop in the middle of the pack to take pictures of themselves with their digital cameras to upload on Facebook later. They type up a quick message on their Blackberry at mile 16, because the Twitterverse needs to know how much “my legs feel lk 2 tree trnks. LOL.” Even during my Ironman, I passed an athlete who was walking and talking on his cell phone. During the race.

Don’t be a Tool:

Sure, we’re a wired society. That’s not necessarily a good thing.

Running is a great thing — your body is accomplishing something amazing! Rather than be distracted by all your technology, soak in the experience of your race. Stopping in the middle of a race to take a photo or shoot off a text is not only distracting you from the true race experience, it’s dangerous to the runners behind you who are moving forward when you’re -ahem- not. During your race, delegate the photo-taking-Twitter-updating role to one of your spectathletes.

The Stopwatch

This past December, after two years of trying, I finally achieved my goal of a sub-2-hour half-marathon. Race after race, I was turning in 2:01 and 2:02 times, so to finally get a 1:58 PR was amazing! Nothing could have made me upset. Nothing!

Until the next day.

I was talking with a fellow runner who asked me how the race went. My chest swelling with pride, I gave him my 1:58 time.

“Really?” he asked.

I smiled. “Bet you didn’t think I was capable of it, huh?”

He scratched his head in confusion. With absolute seriousness, he clarified: “Huh. I guess I thought since you did the triathlon and Ironman stuff that you’d actually be, like, faster.”

I think he then proceeded to tell me all about how his first half-marathon (when he was 300 pounds and just starting out as a runner) was actually a 1:50, but I’m not sure. I couldn’t hear much of what he was saying over the sound of my deflating ego.

Don’t be a Tool:

Whether someone’s a 3-hour or 6-hour marathoner, they’re still a marathoner. Whether someone runs a 5K in 18 minutes or 40 minutes, they’re still a runner. You are not allowed to ask “Hey, how’d your race go?” as a way to open the door to brag about yourself. Let them have the spotlight! Give ’em a high five, smile, and shut up. It’s their moment.

The Bandit

Bandits are building up bad, bad, BAD running karma.

These racers, who participate in the race without paying for it, are stealing. There’s no way to sugarcoat it…it’s theft, pure and simple. Sure, it may seem harmless — the race is already crowded, so what’s one more person? The water’s already there, so who’s going to miss just one cup?

When you bandit, though, you’re taking away from those who have paid for the experience. The people who have signed up for the race have paid for the barricades and police to block off the road, the supplies at the aid station, insurance for the event, and the support in the days, weeks, and months leading up to the race.

Don’t Be a Tool:

If you want to race, pay for it. If you just want to run, then run somewhere else. If you seriously think you’re justified because you can bandit because no one will know, just remember the definition of the word “integrity” — it’s doing the right thing when no one is looking.

Penance for Tool-itude:

If you’re guilty of the above crimes, all is not lost.Β  You can absolve yourself if you promise to change your ways.Β  Just say ten “Scott Jureks,” and leave a bowl of chia seeds on the altar of the Endurance Gods. See you at the races!


Susan Lacke enjoys a good avocado. When she isn’t writing for No Meat Athlete, she’s spewing the gospel of running and triathlon for Competitor Magazine and its sister website, If you see her, please approach slowly and use caution — she’s been known to head-butt when she feels threatened. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke



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  1. amen to the bandits!! biggest running-peeve ever. cheapskates! if you can’t afford a race, don’t run it.

  2. Uh-oh! I think I’ve accidentally been “The Showoff.” But my HM shirt is so comfy, so it’s okay, right…?

    Bandits are a touchy issue for me, and I’m prepared to take the heat over these remarks.

    I’ve never been one, and I agree that in absolute terms it *is* stealing. But with some races being SO expensive (cough) …RnR… (cough), and more popular races raising their prices as a way to thin the swelling field (I’m looking at you, Portland), it’s starting to feel like racing is becoming a sport for the rich. I don’t think that’s inherently right either.

    I agree that banditing the $20 local fun run is a d*ck move. But as more races raise their prices in an explicit attempt to exclude people, I guess I just I find myself with a bit more sympathy for the bandits.

    I dunno. What do you all think? Am I out of line?

    • I agree the prices for races are getting expensive, but it simply comes down to one thing: If it’s too expensive, find another race. Not all races are outrageously priced.

      I serve on the board for one of our local marathon festivals (a charity race), and before that, I didn’t really understand what the big deal was over banditing. Now, though, I know:

      – All races must purchase insurance and runners with bib numbers are covered by the insurance. If a bandit is injured or causes injury to a registered runner, it can open up all sorts of lawsuits.
      -Towns, states, parks, etc., which host the race require permits, insurance, fees, taxes, etc., in order to hold the race. That adds up!
      -Bandits can screw up the timing or race results when they cross the finish line, even if they don’t have a timing chip.
      – Race directors plan for a certain number of racers, and set up aid stations accordingly. If bandits take water, gels, food, etc., the runners who paid are left without full aid stations.
      – Finisher medals are given out at the end of the race. If the race runs out of finisher medals because of bandits, they’re crushing someone who really, really wanted that medal — they paid for it, worked and trained for it…and that medal was something they had to show for it.
      -Even the bigger races donate to charity, usually. Often, the volunteers at the aid stations are doing so in exchange for a charitable donation from the race. When you bandit, you’re stealing money from charity. Anyone who gets a warm-fuzzy feeling from that, in my opinion, is an asshole.

      So please, don’t do it. If my logic isn’t enough to convince you, then just do it because I really truly believe all my readers are good people, and I’d hate to to be let down. Don’t do it. πŸ™

      • I certainly hope that I don’t come off as advocating race banditry. That’s not what I meant at all. I was just saying that I can understand why some people might (although, I can’t understand taking finishers medals – those people most definitely qualify as jerks).

        I know no one likes a devil’s advocate but, even with your valid points, for a lot of people the “if it’s too expensive, don’t/find another race,” argument doesn’t hold water.

        I haven’t seen a race at the half/full marathon level that costs less than $65 to enter. For the majority of Americans, that’s a non-trivial amount of money to part with. There’s even a small subset of the country for whom $20 for a non-necessity like a race entry is too much. I’m speaking from family experience here, not just blowing smoke.

        The question we need to ask as racers and race organizers is, “are we really willing to deny this demographic the opportunity to feel the thrill of finishing a race (not a run, but a race)?” Maybe the answer is “yes,” for all the very valid reasons you mentioned. And maybe the solution is for me to stop hijacking your comments and start a non-profit to pay race entry fees for the under-privileged. πŸ˜‰

        Just some food for thought. Thanks again for the insight, Susan!

        • I’m all about the intelligent discussion, buddy! πŸ™‚

          If anyone is in this circumstance, I think it’s important to point out that many (not ALL, but many!) races will reduce or even comp an entry for its volunteers. So if someone is in a circumstance where they can’t afford the entry fee, they should contact the race director about this possibility. If they stuff race bags or help with packet pick-up, they may just get a free bib number as a token of gratitude.

          And I’m totally with you on starting that non profit. Sounds like an awesome idea! Maybe we should have a charity run to raise money for it? πŸ˜‰

        • My running club offers two races each year. One is a 7 miler that is free to participants. We ask for donations for a local food pantry. But it still costs the club a lot to put on the race…insurance, facility rental for pre/post race, police support, water/Gatorade and post-race snacks. We are able to offer chip timing for free because a local company does it as training for their staff or to test new technology. We had to cancel because of the weather conditions this year, but it was the first time the race has been canceled. The other race is a half and quarter marathon. There is an entry fee for it…generally really affordable, but not free. There are the facility fees and insurance and police costs, shirt costs, perks for volunteers, water/Gatorade stops, post race goodies, and HAM radio operators to facilitate communication and to call for EMS. This is a pretty no-frills race but is a lot of fun and has a ton of history. So we aren’t even talking about performers, medals, or a prize purse. While everyone needs to decide what races they can afford to do and how many they can do people need to realize that there are a LOT of costs to putting on a quality race that is safe and enjoyable. The fees aren’t really outrageous in most cases (there are some that are, but they have the prestige or draw to be able to demand it).

          For local races there are some cases where you can negotiate a certain amount of help in exchange for racing for free – get to know the race director and if this is a possibility.

          I guess I am saying there are a lot of ways to manage your race costs, but banditing should never be one of them.

  3. I agree w/the first thing about the shirts, but for me, I guess I am guilty of it sometimes only because I don’t really have many other running tops besides race shirts. I rarely do anything less than a half, so it doesn’t happen very often regardless.

    And completely agree w/the bandits one — not good karma at ALL.

  4. I’ve been a runner for about 23 years. MOST runners are not judging your shirts. Running is a very welcoming community. There are always exceptions though. Really… we don’t care what distance your shirt shows off and will quite frankly think whatever distance it’s “showing off” is totally AWESOME and might ask you about it. They are great conversation starters! What is this the running fashion police? Really?
    If I see someone walking in a race of any distance talking on a cell phone I would ask them if they were OK and if they were, I might assume they are doing the run/walk thing and checking in with family or have an injury/issue they are nursing. Most runners are not going to think you are a “tool”. Bandits…partially agree but running has become very elitist as of late and prices are ridiculous for some races..IMO so what if a few get in. They prob add some spice to the straight and narrow. Running is fun and liberating. Just for the record I write this in defense of unsuspecting newbie and seasoned runners, not for my sake. Lets not put psychological restrictions on people looking to get into the sport or create judgemental overtones in our communications. Run and have FUN! Leave your judgements at home.

    • This was a very good post in response to the main post. I think some newbies would be disheartened by this post because while you say it’s satire at some points it just comes off as being “you really don’t belong here if you can’t stop doing any of these things” which from your response wasn’t the intention.

      I carry a phone with me in races because normally I am at a race by myself. It’s for an emergency and sucking in some innocent bystander at the end to take my picture.

      If I have to walk, I move out of the way and I don’t start at the front of the crowd. What I have found at some smaller races is that walkers being told to start in the back doesn’t happen. People will learn or not learn. So some of you learn where you want to start. Back of the crowd and wait for the crowd to thin out? That’s what I try to do now. My major dislike is pedestrians who just willy nilly cross the street during a huge race and think a runner would not get mad at them for stepping in front of them.

      Race shirts? I could care less and didn’t care at my first race that was an 8K. I just cared about finishing. Which I try to encourage any newbie to concentrate on.

      Bandits? Dislike. Even Elizabeth Hasselback who boasted about running Boston as a bandit in a recent past Runners World article, it’s just not cool.

      What’s even worse imo that wasn’t even recognized on this list of tools are runners who SELL their medals from marathons on craigslist or EBay. If someone can justify selling their medal to someone I would like to hear it. One friend said to me well maybe they finished the race after all the officials had left? maybe. I was disheartened after barely finishing Chicago last year to see medals for sale in the days after. I guess I never thought someone would sell something like that, that they had to really earn. *Unless people stealing medals at races happens, please let me know.

      I just want to keep running fun for myself and hope others can do the same.

  5. I’m guilty of texting on course, but I did move off to the side while I was doing it. My boyfriend was asking my finish line ETA so I needed to give him an update!

  6. Great post! What is with people who are on their cell phones during the race?!

    What about the people that only intend to walk the race, but line up at the front of the start making all of the runners dodge them? I love that they are out there, but it is a huge hassle at a lot of races.

    Perhaps I am guilty of banditing. If you are to run with some of your friends that are registered in the race for a mile or two to help them out or pull them to the finish, is that being a bandit? Especially if you don’t use the aid stations?

  7. I got a good laugh out of this – thanks for that. I actually really like when people wear shirts “bragging” about certain things. 2 shirts I saw this weekend both on older men: one shirt said that today was his 100th marathon/ultra. This is so inspiring to me! I wanted to congradulate him but he was deep in conversation with another runner. Another man had on a shirt that said he had competed in a marathon in all 50 states. This was also super encouraging and inspiring. I have no problem with these shirts.

    • Now that is cool, and brag-worthy. πŸ™‚ My bone to pick is not about that — it’s about the runners who wear the shirts as a distinctive way to one-up the other runners. As I said in the post — if they’re demeaning the other runners with phrases such as “this 10K is actually my cool-down.” That’s a tool-ish move.

    • @Sharon – I agree that shirts like that are indeed inspiring, and actually to Susan’s point are actually appropriate. I see no “looking down” on anyone when you are in a race that is contributing to the milestone you are actually “bragging” about. 100 marathons? Amazing!

      Now if you will excuse me, I am going to go put on my “7-Summits” t-shirt and go hike the local hill…I will be telling everyone what an awesome mountaineer I am in the process.

      Another great article Susan. It’s always nice to stop thinking about my cramping calves for a few minutes and read your articles.

      • Jeley… 7 summits! Freakin Awesome! I would love to run into you on that local hill :-). I will be climbing to Everest Base Camp in MAY.


  8. “I couldn’t hear much of what he was saying over the sound of my deflating ego.”


  9. I think people run races for different reasons.

    If I was told I could carry either a watch or my camera on race day, I’d choose my camera nearly every single time.

    Running, in my opinion, is more enjoyable when the stopwatch is home and my eyes are looking everywhere but my wrist. I want to soak in my surroundings. When I see something beautiful, interesting, or funny, I’ll stop to take a photo – whether it’s on a Tuesday night 2-miler around my neighborhood or race day.

    I think I took something like 80 photos during my first marathon. I took around 200 when I ran Comrades a couple years ago. I’m so glad I did, because I can go back through my photos and re-live all those little moments that I might have forgotten otherwise.

    Is it annoying if someone stops directly in front of me to take a photo or pull out their phone? Absolutely. Just be courteous, people.

    When I see someone looking at their watch every 20 steps, and tracking laps with each mile, my first instinct is to think that THEY are the ones who are missing out on the true experience of running — but then I remind myself that we’re all running for different reasons.

    Totally agree with the stopwatch tool, and the showoff tool…for the most part, especially about compression. πŸ™‚ But I agree with Heather that if I’m at a 5k and someone shows up with a Badwater shirt on, I’m going to think it’s awesome and want to talk to him/her.

    The bandit is a much more complicated issue, as others have already noted. From a director’s viewpoint, absolutely it’s wrong/bad. If you take a finisher’s medal, eat from the aid stations, etc., then you are stealing. But I’m not sure it’s so clear if the runner carries their fuel and declines the schwag at the finish line. (To be honest, I haven’t thought about it much…and didn’t know it was becoming a serious problem.)

    • I agree Scott. Taking pics is the best way to relive the moment… possibly at a time in your life when you may need some inspiration.

      I carry my iPhone on all races but usually do not have enough energy to use it. I am always glad when my daughter sends me a text to let me know how she is doing when I have ran a 1/2 and she is doing the full.

  10. i will admit, i’ve been guilty of being the show-off. since i started doing more long distance races, i never bought tech tees. i’d typically rely on them from the races i do (and most if not all of the 5k’s and 10k’s i do don’t give away tech tees).

    so during training and inevitably sometimes during races, it’s the only kinds of shirts i have. i’ve also worn compression shorts at 5k’s. i’ll wear them at any race i can if they haven’t been used already. very comfy stuff!

  11. nappie dee says:

    This column was a much needed laugh in my day. Awesome.

  12. I’m sure I’m guilty of the show-off shirt. Mostly because I don’t have any many other nice running shirts (I guess it is time to buy a NMA shirt ;)!

    I also just love seeing other people’s race shirts. As a marathoner, I don’t see it as showing off, but a good way to see what other people are doing. In December I had a great mid-race convo during a Charlotte, NC half with a guy who was wearing the same small Maryland half shirt I was! Would have never spoken to him otherwise.

    That said, if this is your first 10k, and you are really working hard, I can see why it would be frustrating to have some guy in an Ironman shirt fly by.

    • Oh, and Susan, you are hilarious and I love your posts. Thanks!

    • Doug, I got a visual when reading this line “wearing the same small Maryland half shirt I was” lol Was picturing a certain district in New Orleans on Mardi Gras… not that there’s anything wrong with that πŸ™‚

      Had I not seen marathon shirts while running my first 10ks I may have never had the inspiration to do one so I could were the shirt. Now I have 4 down and would love to earn the right to wear a 50 stater.

  13. Oh no… I’m guilty of the showoff shirt. I never race in them, but I wear them to the gym. Do people think I’m a tool? Some of them are “cute”!

  14. Oh my gosh.. just watched the tool with the iRun… he thinks it is a simple design. Can you imagine running with that? Shit, just holding my water bottle on my one and done marathon was work… imagine a 15lb device to carry along.

  15. The t-shirts, tech or cotton, that I get from races never fit me! That’s my biggest t-shirt related frustration!

    As for the “wired” runners, it only bothers me when they clog up the course, which unfortunately happens quite frequently!

    My biggest peeve is the walkers that line up in the front! I was near the front of a HM that wanted to PR at and I overheard some girls in front of me talking about how they were just out for a nice slow jog… I wanted to tell them to get in the back if that’s what they were planning!

    Also, regarding entry fees…. a lot of times if you sign up early, you get a big break. I sign up for the ING Miami the first week that you can and I’ve never paid more than $40-ish for the full marathon.

  16. I don’t mind the race tshirts either. I like checking out what other people have done.

    What’s the etiquette on being able to brag about your race? I’ll be talking about a 10k I just ran and someone will butt in with a comment about their 10k that happened….8 years ago. Don’t they have an expiration date? You can’t brag you ran a 40 minute 10k when it was forever ago.

  17. Nourish*mind*body*soul says:

    I’m guilty only of the camera issue! For me it’s just not the destination but the journey! But I pull way off to the side before stopping!

    My first half was such a beautiful run along the beach! I’m glad I have the pics I snapped!

    My biggest pet peeve is the tools and tool-ettes with strollers! So dangerous when they plow through knocking pekoe out if the way and clipping heels as they go by!!

  18. Hilarious post:) But really, good luck getting rid of tools in the long distance running club. Who else will devote the time, energy, and mental effort to prepare for these crazy races. Nut jobs, that’s who! We’re all obsessed and obsessive or we would be there on race day.

  19. Susan Shepard says:

    I have no problem with the race shirt thing. Most of my running shirts are from races and I like them and I’ll wear them no matter the distance stated on it if it fits the conditions. I guess I never thought about someone wearing a shirt to prove something to anyone else. I dunno, I think it’s the person viewing the shirt that has an issue rather than the one who put it on that day. I agree that the iRunners can be insanely annoying, though.

  20. I remember for my first 5k (in which I was totally guilty of being a slower running at the start line – I didn’t get how chip timing worked!) I texted my friend the day before and asked if wearing the race t shirt to the race is like wearing the band t shirt to the concert. Yes, yes it is. I’d rather see a further distance race t from another race than the race of that race. I don’t know why, it’s just a silly pet peeve.

  21. What if you are all 4 wrapped into 1 ! No, really, thanks for keeping it real Matt!

  22. The only thing more arrogant than the a shirt claiming longer distance is wearing s shirt that says I don’t need meat to win this race. J/k. To me your post is encouraging me to wear a camel cigarette shirt or perhaps carry a sign that says running is bad for your knee’s. Yes I would wear a no meat athlete shirt but really we should all be running naked and drink a lot f booze afterwards.

  23. Haha, I’ve totally been the showoff before and not realized it! Maybe it helps that although I’m wearing a marathon shirt, I’m getting passed by 80 year olds?

  24. I’m not sure why wearing a shirt that says you finished a marathon is showing off and saying look at me, but wearing a big old shirt that says “No Meat Athlete” isn’t. I think everyone with their “event” or “lifestyle” shirts is just looking for some attention. By selling shirts on your website and then dissing people for showing up at races in other shirts you’re being hypocritical.

    • To be fair, Susan doesn’t sell No Meat Athlete shirts. She writes for a site that does. Since I published her post, that would make me the hypocritical one, if this were in fact hypocritical.

      But here’s the thing. I think I’ve been the Showoff before — I like wearing race shirts because it’s a more subtle way to show people what you’ve done than to brag about it. And I’ve brought a camera, phone, and iPod with me on a run before… I even made a whole video about the HAT 50K. But I don’t feel dissed or hurt or offended by this post. Instead, I feel like Susan is joking around and calling me a tool. In a friendly way, not a mean-spirited one.

      It seems like a lot of people are interpreting this as mean, rather than the joke it’s supposed to be.

      • Matt, I think what happened was that even though the Showoff was said as a good-natured joke (if read by itself) the rest of the ‘tools’ were increasingly critical and unfunny. The bandit tool was the opposite of a joke. So by the time you finish reading the entire meant-to-be-kinda-funny post, the humor seemed secondary to the critical nature that it ended on. I can see how it would be easy for anyone to then wonder, “Whoa, maybe she wasn’t joking about the shirts.”

        • Definitely a fair point, Scott, and one that I hadn’t thought of. Thanks for making it. That’s as good an explanation as any for why this post stirred people up more than Susan intended.

        • Great insight (and critical thinking) Scott! That completely clears things up for me. Thank you for your intelligence.

  25. Susan, I had no idea I am Insanely Irritating to you. As many have said, I love it when someone wears a shirt showcasing something they are proud of. It does nothing but inspire me. Just try and stop me from approching someone wearing an Ironman at a 5K.

    Compression socks or shorts at a 5K? Well are they nursing an injury or just breaking them in for the upcoming race… or do they just plain ole like em!

    Texting and picture taking on a race… are we not there to have fun? Are we alowed to enjoy ourselves? My daughters and I run at different paces and we love keeping each other motivated with milage pics or encouraging texts. Not to mention finding each other at the end.

    Are we really being so critically judged when we put a bib on? From all the wonderful people I have chatted with and met along the way… I hope not.

    And as far as someone deflating me with a comment… can’t happen. I am way to proud of my accomplishments for that.

    About the only thing I can agree with you is, Yes no matter what your finish time is… you are a marathoner!

    As for the bandit thing. Everyone has made some real good points. I know I would not do it but I will not judge someone who does.

  26. Loved it! I’ve been known to wear a Boston Finisher shirt at inappropriate times – definitely tool-like behavior. Sorry will stop that immediately. But seriously I also thought you were faster… Just kidding.

  27. Susan, you forgot one. Don’t Be A Tool.

    Don’t go around in this sport picking out behavior that irritates you, and then calling those runners who do so tools.

    The sad thing is two of the things you pick out come from the mid to back of the pack crowd which are are the target group for Competitor and their RnR series. Instead of a back handed insult, whether tongue in cheek or not, is just plain silly.

    When I first started reading this I was certain it was written by someone from…but then I saw your 1/2 Marathon time. Are you kidding me? A barely breaking 1/2 Marathoner nit picking other runners!? Please. Hey…there’s Tool #5!

    • Are you a tool calling a tool a tool?

      When you race is there no one in front of you?

      1. The article is funny
      2. Mid to back of the pack people (the majority) are the ones who fund the cool shirts
      3. Why attack someone personally for writing a funny article for everyone to enjoy?

    • hey dude its supposed to be funny. If you don’t think so that’s cool… Don’t take it personally… now your the one being a jerk !

      • Oh Wait, since my post has now irritated others, let me pull a toolish move and say…Hey, it was all in fun, I was trying to be funny…no harm no foul.

  28. RunnerGirl says:

    Hilarious! I always enjoy your posts – keep ’em coming!

  29. Wearing a shirt from a longer event doesn’t make you a showoff. Events are completely different and only slow people are impressed by longer events because they don’t think they could finish one.

  30. This post is funny as hell. The shirt comments really do crack me up. What Susan wrote really struck a nerve which is hillarious to watch people be so defensive about the shirts and policing the shirts and bla bla bla.

    Who really cares! It is a joke. People wear whatever they want to wear. Personally, I like to wear my hot pink nike womens half marathon shirt mainly so my friends can see the straight guy running in a hot pink womens shirt that is 2 sizes too small. I’m not a fast runner and I love talking to people when I race…it’s a great place to meet chicks especially when you’re slow like me.

    Next time, im going to wear my “running sucks” shirt and my ironman finisher hat and maybe a cycling skirt. Why? Because people will laugh and when the laugh they will have fun and when they have fun they will keep running. That’s what it’s all about right? people having fun and being physically active?

    Stay focused and stay fun.

  31. I think you should make a “Don’t Be a Tool” t-shirt! I love it!

  32. I woke up to a bomb-tastic amount of angry comments this morning. Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit coffee.

    This is my one and only response. I’m going to get it out of my system, then I’d like us all to move on.

    It seems there are two types of people who are responding to this post:
    1) The ones that get that it’s satire.
    2) The ones who missed the point and/or are taking offense to this post.

    It seems to me a lot of people in the second group of people are new to this site, in which case, we’ve gotten off on the wrong foot. Let me introduce myself:

    Hi, I’m Susan Lacke. I’m the Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete and A HUMOR COLUMNIST. Please don’t take any of my jokes personally. I’m essentially a poorly-trained monkey here to make you laugh.

    Is there some truth to the post? Sure. But if it offended you and made you feel personally attacked, I truly apologize. You see, my own experience with the running and triathlon community is that most people are pretty good at taking a joke. If you are new to the site, you’ll see I’ve been writing a lot of humorous posts for the last year that poke fun at all of us — myself included (actually, myself ESPECIALLY).

    That said, if you dislike me, I understand. But before you write me off completely, I’d ask that you go and read some of my other stuff, just so you know I’m not a total poop-head…I’m just a humor columnist who apparently touched a nerve with some of you, and for that, I’m sorry.

    So let’s all do some hill repeats to get the aggression out, shake hands, and put this behind us.

    Love, Giggles, and Running Carrots,

  33. CraigMacPherson says:

    If this was supposed to be serious, (which you deny) then it was so nonsensical that various profanities are the only words to capture the essence of its nonsense. I’ll leave those profanities to other runners because I was raised to go easy on the cursing in “public.”

    If this was supposed to be humorous (so, wait- if it’s sarcastic/satirical, that means you SHOULD brag about yourself and bandit races?) then I guess humor, like beauty, is in the eye of the beerholder, and I am not drunk.

    For the record, all my runner friends have better things to do than just sit there and nitpick other peoples’ behaviors, and we’re all in our early 20s. One would think older, presumably more mature and experienced people would find better ways to occupy their time.

    • Craig – really? Is what you’re saying is that something can ONLY be funny if it is the opposite? So if it is a cold day out and I complain about it being hot out, is that funny to you?

      Try to read the article with an open mind? Maybe you’re the guy with the cell phone who is tweeting his way to the finish and got offended by that. Or maybe your mom wears your Marathon shirt to her Saturday knitting club and you got offended by the shirt comment.

      Either way, it’s an article that was written by a fellow athlete who basically joked about not running in a race that you haven’t paid for, focus on the run and not on your phone, let everyone be happy about their finish time regardless of how fast or slow it is and don’t let your shirts do the bragging about what you’ve accomplished. How can anyone on this planet be OFFENDED by that???

  34. I’ve been a runner for over 30 years. A couple of comments on your post:

    1) I can’t imagine that anyone would be intimidated or irritated by someone else’s shirt. The fact that you’re wearing a particular shirt says nothing about how fast or slow you are.

    2) There’s a common misconception that someone who runs a marathon or other long distance race is an inherently better athlete to someone who “only” runs 5 or 10 km races. As an extreme example, Keninisa Bekele (the world record holder for 5 and 10km) has never run a marathon, but he is an unbelievably better athlete than a 3 hour marathoner. Shorter races are very difficult races in and of themselves if you are trying to run them to the best of your ability rather than just jogging through them to finish the distance.


  35. Jerrell Dinucci says:

    Most serious runners dont care that you completed a marathon or a 5K. The distance itself doesnt impress. They care about how FAST you completed a given distance. A fast 5K performance is much more impressive than a 4hr marathon.

  36. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve raced with my mobile phone with GPS turned on and using my 3G connection to update my position for digital spectators.

    Sub 2 half-marathon this last December eh? Good for you!

    I want to share a funny story.
    I actually went vegetarian (thanks to you!) late last year specifically to train for a half-marathon in January where I wanted to do exactly what you did, finally get under 2 hours. I didn’t but it was for a boneheaded reason. It was an indoor race (InStep Icebreaker Indoor) and I got off the track one lap too soon and was celebrating my sub-2 when the horror of my error dawned on me. I snagged my chip back and ran my fastest lap of the day and finished in 2:01:40. I know I spent at least 1:40 collecting my medal and lollygagging.

    For the record my wife and I are still vegetarians and are starting to train for Grandma’s next week. We’re believers now.

  37. I used to get intimidated by people wearing distance race shirts to 5 and 10k races until I starting running the longer distances myself. I have the utmost respect for those who can run shorter distances well – it’s definitely not my talent! I was told (read?) that it’s disrespectful to wear another event’s shirt to a race. I personally don’t think you should wear THAT event’s shirt until you’ve run the race, either. You haven’t earned it until you finish:). That all being said, I don’t really get upset at people who do these things. Life’s too short. (Walkers at the front of the gate, though…Another story. I am a midpacker, and it even affects us.)

    • Oh Kim, I could not agree more. I am a 10 min miler and I find it frustraiting and a non efficient use of my limited energy to get around the walkers. Especially the ones who walk 4+ in a row.

      I just did the Myrtle Beach 1/2 and there were no pace signs to designate areas so I guess I can’t blame them too much. If the event announces and organize the corals a little better… maybe that would help.

  38. Ha! Loved the how not to be a tool advice πŸ™‚

  39. Totally agree with these! Especially about bandits – most uncool – and people wearing crazy distance race shirts at a 5K. At my first 5K I saw several people with marathon t-shirts. Hey, guys, I’m nervous enough as it is. Do you have to flaunt your racing experience? I’m sure you’re going to beat me anyway. But thanks for making me feel like an even bigger n00b while you blow past me!

    I will cop to wearing shin sleeves at a 5K. But that’s because I have really bad shin splints. Not because they look cool… on me, they really REALLY don’t.

  40. I was a bandit back in my HS days. Comments like Lindsay’s make me sad. Back then, in the 1970s, running didn’t appeal to elites. I ran the Chicago Distance Classic the year Frank Shorter won it. Couldn’t afford to enter, so I didn’t take water or cross the finish line. Thrill of a lifetime. No regrets.

  41. i disagree with the first one.

    i’ve never done a 5k or 10k that gave decent shirts- they were all crappy unisex cotton tees, which are more suitable as pyjamas or cleaning rags than running apparel. and i have so many great shirts from other races that i see no need to shell out money for other tech shirts. so . . . i wear my half or marathon finisher shirts to short events not because i’m a tool with a penchant for showing off, but because they’re my standard running gear.

  42. Kristin says:

    I think people that wear their Boston Marathon jacket everywhere are tools, but that may have to do with the fact that I don’t have one πŸ˜‰

    I did see a shirt at a 100k I did, that was so funny but probably only in that arena. It was a girl, and the shirt said “You run marathons? That’s so cute!”

  43. Cynthia says:

    I agreed with you on β€œdon’t be the show-off”. I think it’s annoying as well when people do that. However, rather than being annoyed with that person, why not encourage your readers to turn the focus on themselves. So what if the heavy breather racing next to me is wearing an β€œI just did a triple marathon this morning” shirt? Why should I let that bother me? And if I were wearing that shirt, maybe that’s my lucky race shirt. Why should I NOT wear it just because I am crushing your ego? I suggest encouraging your reader to run up to that person and pass him/her, instead of asking the luck shirt wearer to switch to another race day outfit.

  44. Words cannot even describe how much I LOVE this post!!! πŸ˜€

  45. What is the shirt was a sprint Tri? It’s stil only a 5K run right?

    I’ll admit to wearing a sprint Tri shirt to a 5k.

    Won’t happen again.

  46. While i don’t often, I have run bandit in the past. High school runners, like myself,often can not afford to pay the registration fee for every 5K around. However, coaches often require their runners to race a local 5k as a time trial. It’s pretty simple: bandits don’t cross the finish line, don’t get the cool t-shirt/ registration pack, or medal that comes along with paying. In the end, their times and places won’t even be recorded in the official results, either. One of the things i love about the running world is how laid back it is. After all, everyone is going through the same physical and mental journey. Most runners have run bandit, and don’t really care if someone else is. For longer races, like half- marathons and marathons, it might be wrong to run bandit, but what’s the harm in bandit-ing a local 5K?

  47. Freakin show offs, like i care if you ran an ultra or your a no meat athlete!:) On a serious note I say wear your medals (shirts) with pride, your proud of your accomplishments and you should be!

  48. Ah – The Stopwatch. My nemesis. Thank you for helping to expose their stupidity.

  49. I think the hate toward your “tool” Stopwatch friend is kinda’ uncalled for.. From that, it seems like you guys talk a lot about running, but he never caught a time, so he was just surprised you seem so passionate about running, but don’t have the skill he imagined would go with it.
    I’m not saying don’t be passionate, just that you didn’t play the part he assumed you did. I walked onto my college team, and talk about running a lot.. I also can’t seem to break 5 in the mile for the life of me. I mention, however, that my ability to run isn’t close to my passion for it.

  50. I just want to share that I just got flat-out ridiculed at work for sharing the rule about never wearing a shirt more than one step up from the race you’re running (and for saying I’ve heard it’s bad luck to wear the shirt from the race you’re running DURING the race). People who don’t run aren’t allowed to make fun of me for following the courtesy rules of running. Right?!

  51. This is one of the dumber articles I have ever read.

    • Slim – is it really “dumber”?

      Damn that public school education shines brightly at times doesn’t it? πŸ˜‰

  52. *sigh*… I’m guilty of the iRunner LOL… I probably will continue to do it for my next few marathons to make sure I capture the moments! But I’m glad to know it annoys people now, so I will be more cautious of my photo taking πŸ™‚

  53. Other than the bandit issue, it seems like the real tools are the people that worry about this other crap. How about you run your own race and not worry about what other people wear and listen too. And if your friends need to boast about themselves when hearing of your success, then you need new friends.

    As Slim says above, this was a worthless read.

  54. That guy beat you by a MILE … literally! On his first half!
    1:58 is not a bad time, but I am sure you can use your true inner strength πŸ™‚

    Also, what if you want to participate in a local 5 K, but you only happen to have T-shirts from half and full marathons? The shorter races are usually less frequent.

  55. I’ve found that people that care about other’s attire, worry about others times, need validation for their own accomplishments and get deeply concerned about other’s social media habits are usually quite insecure.

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