As I was getting ready for my most recent race, I got to thinking about the different people you see at a race. It starts with the variety of weirdos that is the collective of runners (seriously, we pay money to run). But you also have the people who are there to ehlp out in one way or another. I thought I’d make a handy little guide in the event that in your exercise-addled brain doesn’t recognize these different folks throughout the day. I make not guarantees for the accuracy of these statements.
These are the people helping out who are stressed. They decided a few months ago, “hey, let’s put on a 5K.” Or maybe they’re the ones that years ago decided to start hosting a marathon. Either way, it’s their butt if things go to the crapper. They’re good people, just not happy people. Not today anyway. You’ll also recognize them by their walkie talkies and/or bullhorns.
These are the people helping out who are not stressed. They’re just happy to be here at 6 a.m. for no apparent reason. These are also the people who are likely stressing out The Organizers. That said, these folks are here, they’re happy, and they’ll be happy to tell you where the portapotties are.
They’re the ones with flashing lights and guns. They help make sure you don’t get hit by cars.
They’re the ones with flashing lights and no guns. They also help make sure you don’t get hit by cars and help get the cat of the tree when it slips out of the house.
They’re the chipper people cheering on the side of the road that you want to punch in the face. I mean that in the nicest possible way.
Yeah, multiple categories for runners. You knew this would happen.
These are the people running sub-20 5Ks (or insert whatever 6-minute or better pace works for your distance. I’m lazy; I run 5Ks). You don’t even hate them. They’re like running gods that us mere mortals should be lucky to be around.
The Very Good/Committed/Should Be Committed
Now, oddly, you do hate the a-holes. These are the ones in the 20 to 25-minute range (or 7 to 8-minute pace). Maybe it’s because you think they should put in that extra little bit of work. Maybe it’s because you can still see them for a good chunk of the race if there aren’t a lot of turns.
These are the ones running 25 to 30 minutes (8 to 10-minute pace). The actually run the whole time, but they don’t get crazy or anything like those other people. The seem like they actually enjoy running. Nice people. Kind of hate them for beating me but nice people.
Finishing in 30-35 minutes (10 to 12-minute pace). Not entirely sure why we’re here or how we ended up signing up for a race. Some look the part. Some don’t. This is a mixed group. Some are walking, some aren’t. Some know the rules of the road. SOME START WALKING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE F@#%ING PATH. I may have some unresolved issues with my fellow schlubs.
The Last Pack
At the 5Ks, these are clearly not runners, but they’re here for any number of reasons. Maybe they’re working on their health (awesome) or maybe they’re here for a good cause (also awesome). Either way, they’re here. Anyone who disparages a member of this group gets to burn in their own special circle of hell. Unless it’s that walker who starts in front of runners. Then F#%$ that guy. Don’t say you weren’t warned when you get kicked by a pair of Sauconys.
And That’s All I Have to Say About That