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Disgusting things runners love to talk about

You'll never be able to forget the foot photo your running friend will happily show you

puke emoji Photo by: Unsplash/towfiqu-barbhuiya

Runners have a remarkably high threshold when it comes to gross topics of conversation, embracing discussions on various subjects that non-runners would find appalling. There’s some comfort in knowing that there’s no need to keep your uncomfortable physical ailments secret among your running friends.

Trashed your feet in last weekend’s 50K, or struggled with GI distress on a training run? Your running buddies will pull up a chair and share their own gruesome tales. Here are a few of our favourite disgusting topics that bring runners joy.

Woman with abdominal pain, injury while running, trauma during workout

Toenails (and feet in general)

Most people find feet a less-than-pleasant topic of dinner-table conversation, but not your running friends. Not only do runners have the most bizarre-looking feet, often marred by calluses and lacking toenails; they also have no problem whipping off their shoes and socks to show you. Black toenails (or toenails that are missing altogether) are worn as a badge of pride. They’ll also show you their horrifying blisters–things that would rival any Halloween movie. Our feet are precious, and we treat them like beloved (and ugly) children, joyously sharing photos online and telling strangers about their accomplishments.

Close up of human heel with a chafe or blister

Poop and vomit

One of the most challenging things many runners will experience in a race (or even a training run) is GI distress, sending them sprinting to the nearest port-a-potty (or bush). In ultras, miscalculations in fuelling may cause runners to vomit, often profusely. As fit as some runners are, they seem to have a remarkable inability to calculate the limits of their bodies. Medics at marathons and ultras often have IVs set up to treat runners, and many an old-timer will share with a chuckle stories about washroom near-misses (or outright misses).

Young women stops resting after running.



Most runners have experienced chafing and are more than happy to tell you about it. Male runners are known for sporting bandaids on their nipples–but nipple discomfort is only one area runners have problems with. On long runs, many an athlete has experienced chafing elsewhere–especially in areas normal people (i.e., non-runners) keep private.

In ultras, runners are often whipping off clothing at aid stations to apply chafing sticks or lube to parts that would in most other gatherings be kept under wraps. Runners never need to be shy about sharing their most heinous chafing stories with their fellow athletes–chances are those around you can not only commiserate, but will have tips to help you combat those issues next time.

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