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6 things non-runners get wrong about running

Some people just don't understand our sport

Photo by: Andrew Wagstaff

To truly understand running, you have to be invested in it yourself. This is the case for any sport, and people who aren’t members of the specific sporting communities can say some silly things from time to time. Non-runners are no different, and there have been plenty of times when someone who doesn’t understand running at all has said something ridiculous to a runner. This has gone on forever, and it will continue for as long as the sport exists, and although we can’t list them all, here are a few things non-runners get wrong about running. 

 We’re running away from something 

Some people think that runners choose this sport because they have some dark side that they need to escape. While running is an outlet for many people, it doesn’t mean we’re trying to outrun anything. For the most part, we simply like to run. The mental health benefits are just a bonus. 

We all run marathons 

The marathon is the best-known distance, which is why some non-runners think it’s the only race (or at least the only race that people care about). Because of this, they assume that anyone who is a runner must run marathons, but that is definitely not the case. This sport features sprinters, ultrarunners and everyone in between. Yes, a lot of us run marathons, but that’s hardly the case for all runners. 

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We love getting up early 

Runners struggle with early wakeup calls just like anyone else. We may get up for an early run before work, but that doesn’t mean we look forward to hearing our alarm go off every morning. Lots of us don’t even try to get up early, and we instead opt to go for our runs in the middle of the day or after work. 

“I could never do that” 

When a runner tells a non-runner that they run, the non-runner sometimes responds with something like, “I could never do that.” While it’s hard for some non-runners to believe, they are capable of running long distances – they just have to work at it. If you’re a non-runner who thinks you don’t have what it takes to get into the sport, listen up: you can run. Put in the time and effort and you’ll get there eventually.  

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Any race is a marathon 

Along with the people who think all runners race marathons, there are some non-runners who believe the marathon is a blanket term for any race. The marathon is 42.2K, and that’s the only distance the name applies to. However, people continue to say things like, “He ran a 5K marathon on the weekend.” (And that’s just wrong.) 

We all know one another 

Non-runners sometimes think that the running community is super small, so they assume that everyone knows everyone else in the sport. To any non-runners who believe this, we have a message for you: no, we don’t know your cousin who ran a marathon in 2008. We also haven’t met your co-worker who jogs on Sunday mornings. There are a lot of runners in the world.

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