When I first started running, I joined a supportive running group called WISH, so naturally I assumed everyone else who ran was just as supportive. Enter the running snob. A few weeks ago, I was talking to someone about the Sporting Life 10K and I happily revealed that I ran a personal best in that race. The unexpected response was that this 10K didn’t count because it was on a downhill course! I had to pause for a second because I was stunned. Now, I wasn’t expecting a pat on the head, but I wasn’t expecting to be dismissed either.
When I called this person on it, he replied that he was only referring to himself and I was too sensitive. Uh-huh. He also complained about having to run a race with teens wearing high top kicks and basketball shorts. Really? This individual is a fast runner, but by no means an elite.
My ex will tell you that I have a pretty good memory and can repeat long conversations verbatim, which I’m sure he hated. So I’m confident in what I heard and the sentiment behind it. I gave the running snob the benefit of the doubt, but the conversation got me thinking about running and racing in general. Would the 10K have counted if it I had run it with a headwind? What if it was uphill and I had the wind at my back?
I say a 10K is a 10K regardless of whether it’s uphill, downhill or flat. If I sat down and listed my stats and compared them against an elite runner, I’d come up pretty short. In fact, I’d probably never run again. Instead I think of all the people who are supportive of me – my teammates and friends who give me a high-five every time I finish a race, no matter how fast or slow I finish. I run for myself and the goals that I set. Yes, I get annoyed when someone passes me but it doesn’t matter to me whether they’re 15-years-old or 50-years-old, male or female. Everyone deserves to be there.
So for those of you starting out, don’t let the people with bad attitudes tell you what counts or what you can feel proud of. Fortunately, runners with an elitist attitude are in the minority, but from time to time there will be unsupportive and negative people in many areas of life. They build themselves up by tearing apart your accomplishments. If you worked hard for something, be proud of yourself. Make sure you surround yourself with people who are supportive and will be happy for your successes.
How do you respond to running snobs or other similar “snobs” in your life?