Sunday, September 4, 2011

Marathon – A Non Runner's perspective

On our trip to Ramoji film city, taxi driver asked my wife "mam, did u come to Hyderabad for some work or generally?" (translated to English). Anu paused for few seconds thinking whether to just pass this question. Then she said we came for the run here. It was yesterday. She asked back if he knows about it. First he shook head with a no but then traffic block the previous day, struck him. And he exclaimed - that police one. My wife thinking this might be easiest way to explain as he would have seen lot of policemen deployed, she said yes. So, mam, is he (asking about me) selected? - he asked back. Anu didn't get his question. He framed the same question differently - mam, will result come later? She believed that he got it correctly. She affirmed - ya, it will come later. She meant the race timings. Just when she was getting to rest back, he queried again - mam, was this selection for constables? She moved ahead uncomfortably now. He continued - "or for SI?" Anu whispered to me - I don't know what to say now. And to him, she announced that it is not known yet, ensuring topic is closed.

I wonder what a non runner person (like this taxi driver) will imagine about hundreds of people running on road in the middle of day. Would he ever had imagined that most of these runners are just running for personal satisfaction with no hope of winning any competition (or police job)? And what would he think if we would have told him that we just ran 42 kilometers for fun? 

I do receive many such questions about running. The answers to many of them are just so normal to runners and sounds totally out of world to the non runners. Some of the most common ones are 
  • Did you win the race? Obviously no. I try to explain that long distance running is only sports where 90% of people don't compete with others but just try to beat their own time or simply run for fun.
  • So, do you run continuosly? Are you allowed to walk? When I try to answer this, I am made to feel, I cheated in race by walking somewhere.
  • How long was your marathon? More than anything, it is ignorance. But calling 5K as 5K marathon is simply insult to magical figure of 42.195 km.
  • Are you nuts? Why are running this much? Almost impossible to explain that running marathon is pretty normal. 
If you are runner, you would have received many such questions? What was most funny (or embarrassing) question for you?


  1. Nitin its happening everywhere. When I was practicing in my native(its a small village), few people stopped me and asked...

    Why are you running?
    Simply just for fun.

    Don't you have any useful thing to do in the early morning?
    (Don't know what to respond)

    Don't you have a vehicle?

    Is it anything serious?

    Are you mad or what?

  2. Nice ones Senthil. Only runners will understand why somebody is running.

  3. very nice one Nitin..I think one answer i often give people is ..`just recall your days as a kid - did u ever stop running? and was it fun running? why then did u stop running?' a counter-question is often a good and in this case positively provocative way to respond..and mebbe - who knows - that non-runner may someday be running alongside us or passing by us on his/her way to a PB :-)