Last week I ran a 5K race. As I was standing in line, I took note of some of my fellow participants, and I’m not going to lie, I sized them up! There was the fine,young-thang in her twenties, wearing Lululemon booty shorts and a tank top, standing to my right. A grandmother-ish lady with hiking shoes and a backpack stood to my left, and a women (who I would deem to be normal in size) but in fact would qualify in the Athena category by the fact that her pant size were double digits, stood to my left. I wasn’t surprised at the diversity of the group of runners standing around me, because as a runner, I’m very aware of the how diverse the sport of running is, and I always enjoy the non-homogeneity of the crowd.
To be honest, I didn’t really think much about my fellow runners, but I did think about how easy it would be to judge a runner by how they look. I think people’s natural assumption is to assume, the skinnier the faster, or the younger the better. But as I learned in this simple 5K race…those assumptions can be seriously WRONG!
The 20 something fit-girl, got out of the start in a hurry. She had a quick pace, nice stride and looked the part. I assumed she was in it to win it. I didn’t see much of her during the first half mile, but a few hundred yards before the mile mark I saw the back of her swishing pony tail, and noticed that she had slowed down. I lost her in the crowd for a bit, but shortly after the first water station, I saw her over to the side, arms wrapped around the garbage can, throwing up. Running takes more than a sweet ass in booty shorts.
Size 12 runner, competing in the Athena division…well, I never saw her again after the start, because she seriously kicked my ass and a bunch of other ladies who wear single digit pants, along the way. The girl was fit, and she could run. So, the next time you look at someone and think they are “too heavy,” “too pudgy,” or “too large” to run, you should spend less time judging and make sure your laces are tied tightly.
The Grandmother in the hiking boots, well, she was just smarter than the rest of us. Seasoned runners know how to get it done. Part of the 5K race was sand, part was rock, part was cement, and the last hill included grass, crushed rock and mud. This lady ran straight up the hill without slipping once, while I struggled to get my balance and keep from slipping. Yes, I got beat by a 70 year-old woman, but I’m not the least bit ashamed…she rocked the course, and I was just thankful not to dry heave at the finish line. As for what was in her backpack, I’m really not sure, I like to think it was either some farm fresh produce that she picked up along way, which she took home after the race and made a delicious dinner for her twelve grandchildren, or it was her superhero costume she changed into after the race, to continue to fight crime and stand up for injustice.
Either way, I’m certain of one thing…us runners are too complex; never judge a runner by their cover!
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