“I’m slow. I know. Get used to it”.
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.
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)
“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.