Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Jerks and Runners

One of my favorite cartoons from The Far Side shows God in his kitchen molding the orb of earth in his hands. He has a thought bubble over his head where he is thinking "Just to make things interesting..." as he sprinkles on some particles from a salt shaker that is labeled "Jerks".

Alas, it seems as though jerks are in fact everywhere. They are not really plentiful, but there seems to be one among nearly every large group you might encounter. Having said that, it has struck me recently that the running community appears to be refreshingly jerk-free.

I meet many runners on the trails, most wave or offer some type of head-nod greeting. I have gathered among thousands of runners at the starts of races, stretching and chatting, and noted nothing but courtesy and warmth. Same thing at the finish line. Sometimes I will sit next to a runner on a plane or at a public event (serious running shoes offer clear identification), and they are always amicable and unpretentious. They work and shop in running stores, they write in running magazines and on running websites, they volunteer at races, and generally permeate society. Yet, over the course of the last five years during which I have counted myself among this group, I cannot recall encountering a single jerk.

Could there be a causal relationship? Does running purge us of the stresses that cause jerk-like behaviors? Are jerks too busy annoying people to get out for a run? Anyone got a theory here?

Maybe...oh no...what you think it's me? Maybe I am the jerk that has been sprinkled into this group? I'll need to give this some thought.


  1. there ARE running jerks. they're just harder to spot and the percentage is much smaller. you're right, though, there's something about the brotherhood that is acheived through exertion that causes runners to toss aside the petty things and enjoy life.

  2. Boo Hoo10/15/2009

    The reason you may not notice any jerks might be that they are all jerks. Hard to pick out the penguin from an ice flow covered with penguins. That said, here's a few reasons why runners might be jerks: they think they are better than those of us who don't run. They think they can just run off the sidewalk into the crosswalk and I am supposed to stop from 30 to 0 mph in 10 ft. The truth though is that running is bad for you. It ruins your knees and your hips. So don't ask me to pay for your joint replacements. That's my new healthcare overhaul proposal. You cause it - you pay it.

  3. a few of my friends have run marathons. Let me tell you that nothing turns you into a jerk faster then training for a marathon. "It feels so good!" "I ran 13 miles today!" Thousands of people are following the footsteps of one man who ran 26 miles and then died... I'm sorry if I don't see the enjoyment in running until I soil myself.

    however. I do enjoy running for exercise. a couple miles to work up a sweat, get the heart pumping. I disagree with Boo Hoo, I think running/jogging is one of the most healthy things you can do. But for some reason marathon runners think they are above all others. I never really understood it.

  4. OK - now I see it more clearly. The running community probably has it's share of jerks but, due to our common interests, we treat one another cordially. I suspect this is the same within the high profile community of Thin Lizzy fans; we are polite to one another all the while looking down upon the lame community of Styx fans.

  5. Anonymous10/16/2009

    Styx had a couple more hits than Thin Lizzy

  6. Anonymous10/16/2009

    Boo Hoo: love your slogan for healthcare overhaul: 'you cause it - you pay it'. Succinct and to the point.