You Don't Look Like a Marathon Runner

After Saturday's four-mile run
In August I started my fourth season of marathon training, and next March when I run the Los Angeles Marathon, I'll complete my fifth full marathon. I love to run, I love talking about running, and I love encouraging other people to run.

But you know what I don't love? Conversations with people who aren't runners or have never completed a 26.2-mile marathon, but want to put their two cents about why I can't possibly be a marathon runner into the ether.

Here's some words of advice: It is never appropriate to say, "You don't look like a marathon runner," to anyone.

Really, if you just met me at a get-together and I mention that I run marathons, that is not your cue to look my body up and down and essentially tell me you don't believe me.

When I replied, "Is that your way of saying that you think I'm fatter than what you believe a marathon runner should be?", you looked uncomfortable. Oh well.

Let's be clear: There is no "look" for a marathon runner. Heck, with the advent of barefoot running, there are even marathoners who train and race with no shoes! Indeed, one of the wonderful things about marathons is seeing people of all ages, colors and sizes--from the elite Kenyans to someone like me--out there on the course, completing the journey to the finish line.

I run to relax, to get some exercise, to meet nice people, and to be a role model for my sons. I run because I like to accomplish big goals and I believe in perseverance and endurance instead of sprinting. And I have a wall of medals to show for it.

Next time, check your biases before you open your mouth.


Daenel T. said…
*fist bump* Go ahead, girl! I'm always impressed with marathon runners and have the deepest respect for anyone who runs. I did ran for the 4 years I was in the Army, so I know (kinda sorta) what it takes to get in shape. Keep doing you and don't worry about others.
Jennifer said…
Next time, look them up and down and reply 'funny, *you* don't look like an a$$hole, but I guess I was mistaken too.
Unknown said…
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Monique said…
I like Jennifer's reply. I wish somebody would say some ish like that to me. I know I'm slow and am not all emaciated looking, but I'm still lapping your couch sitting behind. Keep on running girlfriend.
nick said…
People do say the most idiotic things. So what does a marathon runner look like? Er, you and me and anybody walking down the street. Don't take any notice, they're just jealous you can do something they can't.

Yeah, I like Jennifer's suggestion too.
Steffb said…
It's probably your hair...did they ask to touch it?!
Anne said…
You are preaching the truth! You are an inspiration and a terrific wonderful role model!!
1969 said…
They should watch the 300 pound triathletes come out of the water, ride their bikes and run. Folks are so ignorant. LOL

How would they know what a marathoner looks like? Are they marathoners?

Just keep doing you Girlie!!! Good luck.
Anonymous said…
One of my husband's worst moments was when he was drinking at a bar one night, and he and his friend met a few women. One was a larger woman, who said that she'd just ran a marathon. My husband, being drunk no doubt, says, "You didn't run no effing marathon." His friend said they had to book it out of there before the riot began. He now realizes how ignorant he was.
baiskeli said…
Some people have no manners!

I love Jennifer's response up above and would love to use it.

I have the opposite problem, I'm Kenyan, can't run more than 200 meters without hacking up a lung (but can ride 100+ miles no problem, go figure). It's amazing the number of people I meet who assume I must be a marathon runner.
Liz Dwyer said…
Baiskeli -- Now THAT has got to be annoying. Ugh, I can just hear the sucky comments you must get about running. :(
Anonymous said…
Stumbled across your post because I googled "I don't look like a runner" (seriously!) after some one told me the same thing! I'm training for my first marathon and I definitely believe I am a runner. :) I'm a vegan, too, if you decide to go that route. Thanks for the post!

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