Anonymous Running

“I’m slow. I know. Get used to it”.

Should a slow runner go undercover?

Trouble is – I can’t. 

When I did my first 10k (in Derby) I just knew a particular woman had “targeted” me to overtake. And in my second Robin Hood Half Marathon (Nottingham) I was almost ground down by the tapping behind me of a senior walker’s poles – just like the ticking of Captain Hook’s crocodile!

While I accept there’ll always be an element of competition when you’re in a race – and my challenge is not to finish last – it becomes even worse when you’re out running and minding your own business.

Me - Robin Hood 2010
I didn’t come last

It isn’t even always another runner – for some reason, I’ve had the odd man in his street clothes accidentally-on-purpose breaking into a run and overtaking me (on one occasion on a Nottingham towpath after taking an ostentatious drag of his cigarette). Like the presence a running woman is a threat to his virility?

Like, do I really need all this during what is often a coping strategy?

Suddenly you’re singled-out to be overtaken – and feel like a loser.

I have always been a bad loser!

So what gambits can I deploy to avoid this? Here are some:

  • Suddenly stopping to tie-up a perfectly tied shoelace
  • Abruptly remembering I have to check my mobile (however, I have yet to pretend I’m answering a call!)
  • Changing direction (not always possible)
  • Shock tactics – maybe sliding a hand down my leggings and scratching my groin/bum-crack (actually I haven’t tried this one yet)
  • Maybe I should get a T-shirt printed with a more pithy version of “For Christ’s sake yes I know I’m slow just b****r off!”
  • Simply yelling expletives at the offender (only the once, mind – as I did with the guy on the Nottingham towpath)

turtles-through-peanut-butter“Anonymous Running” is something I’m no stranger to – if only through covering my hair up with a baseball cap and hoping nobody will recognise me!

The cover of darkness is another option – but then of course I have to wear high vis clothing to ensure I don’t get run over, so I’m still conspicuous.  And I prefer daylight.

The great wilds of a remotely rural landscape are not a solution – I’m an urban runner through and through.

Maybe it’s my mental attitude that needs a work-out too?

After all, it takes a certain mind-set to always be a Good Sport.

Many thanks to IronFat and Hysterical Runner for inspiring this post. Rock on, sisters!






2 thoughts on “Anonymous Running

  1. The day after I wrote that post about running and overtaking, I was out doing my 2nd 25km of the week. And as luck would have it, I started (without trying to OR wanting to) catching up to this runner who was doing a fairly decent pace ahead of me. But clearly I was going just that bit faster. I then caught up with her (again – I really didn’t want to) at the slight uphill section of the loop I was doing. And what does she do; almost in a hostile way clearly challenges me by picking up her pace in a very obvious way. She did NOT want to let me past her. So for a good couple of hundred meters we were battling it out until she finally just gave up and dropped well behind me. It was so obvious what she had been doing as she really got left well behind me as I (of course…) had to keep up the pace she’d set in the “duel”. I can actually see the small tightening of my pace on the run tracker. But hey; I won so that was ok. But she could have seriously put me in a crappy place for the rest of my run.


    • I wouldn’t want anyone to “win” over me, especially in a non-competitive situation. How could this woman have handled the situation better so you didn’t potentially end up “in a crappy place”? Could she have shouted over to you, changed direction, what indication could she have given you? Admittedly her clues were non-verbal..
      I’m a Alpha type and hate losing in any area of my life – even though I know this will happen at some point. I don’t know how professional sportspeople cope! Someone overtaking me on a training run almost inevitably puts me “in a crappy place” too, so if that happens I have to ensure plenty more running time to get me back in a good mood.
      That said, even I have overtaken people in the past, and I’m sure they’ve been philosophical.

      Liked by 1 person

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