Out There: Running Forward

Illustration: N.C. Winters

Runners of America, Rise Up!

My fellow Americans:

As you know, this month is an important one. We are tasked with selecting our best candidate for President of the United States; the leader who will unite our country. When selecting your choice I ask of you to take into consideration one thing: our great nation is facing a crisis of immense proportions; one that, if left unaddressed, will most certainly incite riots in the streets.

I’m talking, of course, about runner-phobia.

For too long, runners have been subject to marginalization. When we train, cars honk at us for pushing the pedestrian crosswalk button, and drivers shake their triple-caramel-macchiato-no-whip- clenching fists angrily when they must make a complete stop before turning right. When we race, they do those same things, but from behind traffic barricades and with loud, angry four-letter words.

We are told to get out of the streets, get off the sidewalks and “stop making those noises at the gym. You’re scaring the patrons.”

We seek asylum in the safe miles of nature trails, only to discover weekend warriors and dog lovers have colonized our land, power-walking three abreast and marking their empire with flags of animal poo.

“Running is unnatural!” They cry. “You’ll ruin your knees! How dare you encourage activity that causes heart attacks!?”

Are we such a stain on the fabric of society? Must we endure the cruel glare of our spouses for wearing a race shirt to the dinner table? Must the gas station attendants sneer when we fill up our hydration belts? Must the teenagers at the track snicker at us from the bleachers as we do speed work?

No more! Runners of America, Rise Up! It is time we escape this persecution! It’s time to take back our crosswalks from angry suburbanites and fight the liberal dogs who think they can poop anywhere they please. It’s time to create a future where our children and grandchildren will not be judged for wearing split shorts.

We must elect leaders who are sympathetic to the flight of the runner; leaders who are able to run 10K, are brave enough to wear compression socks to the grocery store and are able to say “fartlek” with a straight face.

The change we seek will not come easily. It will not come without its share of sacrifice and struggle. But we must end this prejudice. We must come together, take back the trails and make our voices heard loud and clear:

“ON YOUR LEFT!”

Good night, and God bless, runners of America.

****

About The Author:

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke

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