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Blagging rights

March 13, 2010

I don’t want to be too reductive about this. There are plenty of different ways in which the broad spectrum of humanity can be grouped and categorised. But basically there are those who run and those who don’t.

After a race – or in the weeks in advance of a really big race, such as a marathon – you can easily identify the runners. They will ask about the atmosphere, the time you achieved, maybe the position you ranked. In the run-up to a race, they’ll ask you what time you’re targeting. Perhaps even take a punt at your predicted finish time.

Those not so at home with running will look at you with incredulity, ask you whether you made it round in one piece, and perhaps be quite interested in what you ate before and after. ‘You must be able to eat anything’ is a phrase I’ve heard more in the past few months than in the whole of my life.

So, if you know someone who’s running a big race – let’s say a spring marathon – and you want to show some interest in this alien world of theirs, try asking some of the following questions after the event:

  • What was your time?
  • Where did you come? (Remember, this can be cut multiple ways, with gender and age-group answers.)
  • Did you beat Gordon Ramsay? (This is the mark by which all London Marathon runners judge themselves.)
  • What was the course like? (This sounds more knowledgeable than ‘was it hilly?’)
  • Did you see many runners in fancy dress? (If your friend is quite serious about running, try to make ‘fancy dress’ sound like a dirty word. If they did see some, what was the most interesting? For example, there was a man bravely/brazenly running the Bath Half – on a chilly day – in a mankini.)
  • What was in the goodie bag at the end of the race?

So there you go, a quick-and-easy guide to how to ask questions like a runner. Now all you need to do is feign interest as they talk enthusiastically about what was almost certainly a deeply enjoyable experience, but a completely alien concept to non-runners.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 14, 2010 8:34 pm

    @andyndallas reminded me that ‘How far was that marathon?’ is another great question. My doctor asked me how far this marathon I’m running was before signing my medical form. I guess there are just something you don’t know until you get really close to running one…

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