20 ways you can tell you’re a PROPER runner

(Note: This piece first appeared on Run Leeds, slightly abridged, in August 2015.)


WashingThere are things in your washing which no-one else but you will touch.

LaneYou look at a section of road or bridleway and think to yourself “That’ll go!”

Certain songs will always be the headsong for a particular run, and whenever, wherever you hear them you are transported back, trancelike, to that day when…

You have a drawer full of tech shirts with place names, logos, dates… They go with the box of medals. And the collection of crumpled race-numbers. And pile of space-blankets.

Love-HateYou have a love-hate relationship with one of these.

Driving along the road you check out every runner you see: their kit, their form, their pace, how hard they are working (… and of course, whether she/he is pretty/fit)

Meals are a case of whatever goes with your carbs.Need shoes

You still *need* one more pair of trainers (especially if there’s a bargain).

You have a collection of race photos with “Copyright” and “Proof Copyrightonly” stamped across them because you refuse to be mugged for the clean image (or, you don’t think you look as cool and athletic as it seemed in your head at the time). [Copyright]

When an evening with friends or a family event is being arranged, you silently calculate what runs will have to be rescheduled to maintain your mileage and activity levels.Memories

Some places are forever associated with special, lifetime-memory runs (Yose
mite National Park, Derwent Water round, Pollenca to Formentor, cliffs of Malta… or insert yours here).

You are not put off by the weather. In fact, the worse it is the more it reinforces your status as an athlete. And if there is fresh snow…. All weathersSnow

If you don’t ache a little when you get up in the morning something simply isn’t right.

You notice the colour of your pee and resolve to rehydrate. Dulux



When you travel with work you take your kit and get up extra-early to try out the canal-path or nearby park you’ve spotted.

Your calendar isn’t the traditional “Day/Month” but “n-weeks until that race”.

When a family holiday is being booked, you are thinking about where you can run to.

BeforeWhen you get new shoes they have a handover from the old ones. And the first thing you do is go find some mud to make them respectable.After


LineYou see this and HAVE to run along it, because in your head it is the blue line in your marathon.


And of course: if someone uses the “J-word” (as in “You’re a bit of a jogger, aren’t you?” or “How was your jog?”) you smile politely while masking your fury as you struggle with the urge to punch them.


About johntleeds

In amongst the perpetual juggling of work, family and things on my mind, this is MY time, MY escape. Any this is what my mind comes up with when it has time to wonder, as I wander on the trails... twitter @johntleeds
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