Runners are apparently nothing but attention whores

Non-runners be hating.

Why would someone want to get up at 5 a.m. and run 10 miles adorned with fluorescent tape to avoid being struck by someone who has the good sense to use a car for a 10-mile journey?

I have a theory. There is no more visible form of strenuous exercise than running. When runners are dashing down a street in the middle of town or through a subdivision, they know that every driver, every pedestrian, every leaf-raker and every person idly staring out a window can see them.

Huh? I *hate* running where people can see me, although aside from doing it on a treadmill in my basement, there really isn’t too many options.

These days, people want more than ever to be seen. This is the age of taking a photo selfie and posting it on Facebook with the announcement that you’re bored—in the hope that someone will “like” that information. People want attention and crave appreciation. If you’re actually doing something like running—covering ground, staying healthy, almost even having fun—what better way to fulfill the look-at-me desire? The lone runner is a one-person parade. Yay.

You know what I really love? When people honk, scaring the shit out of me.

No, if I could do a complete run w/o anyone seeing me, that would be fine.

But to be honest, I don’t even think about it. Running isn’t about being “seen” doing the task. Running is about a personal goal. It’s just you, the shoes, and the distance.

You know what else this person hates? Running shirts.

You can spot them, wandering through the mall or killing time at Starbucks, proudly wearing their “[Fill in the blank] 5K Run” T-shirts. They’re getting what they want, without losing a drop of sweat.

Yes, because wearing a 5k t-shirt is so impressive. Everyone and their daughter can sign up and run/walk a 5K. Even half marathons – many of those folks walk that as well.

Perhaps this writer is irritated because they don’t move at all?

What has triggered the writers ire? Those 26.2 bumperstickers.

There is one kind of bumper sticker I see almost daily here in my small Midwestern town: a small oval printed with “26.2” or “13.1.” In case you’re lucky enough not to know what these numbers represent, let me explain: They indicate that the driver or someone in the car has run a marathon (26.2 miles) or a half-marathon (13.1 miles).

There is only one reason running aficionados display the stickers. They want the rest of us to know about their long-distance feats. So let me be the first to offer my hearty congratulations. I’d even offer to give them a pat on the back—once they’re done doing it themselves.

Or-alternate theory- they want the rest of the world to know that if THEY can do it, anyone can. Perhaps not a marathon (if that’s not their cup of tea), but some other significant feat or goal. Half the people with those stickers on their car don’t even look like they’re in particularly splendid athletic form. THAT’S WHY THEY’RE SO PROUD OF WHAT THEY ACCOMPLISHED.

Perhaps the driver of the car was a non-runner, and out of shape, but set it as a goal. And did it. Stupid attention whore.

OK, I know, this isn’t the case for all runners. Many of my friends who regularly run have done so for years, decades before there was a thing called social media to put humanity’s self-absorption in overdrive. These folks also tend to be infatuated with fitness anyway. If they’re not out on the streets showing the sedentary world how it’s done, they’re at the gym or in a spinning class.

This is the old “my friends are ok, because they were runners before it was cool.”


As a person who is infatuated with fitness (anyway), and has run for years, yet DOESN’T have one of those stickers on my car, I have to honestly say I’ve NEVER looked at someone running and thought to myself “attention whore”.

You know who are attention whores? Bikers. They assemble in their groups, wear all the blindingly loud “team” shirts, and then meet with their “clubs” afterwards for a coffee. I was once in a local restaurant, and the bikers had to bring their over-priced bikes INSIDE the joint to protect them.

Eh. Whatever. Attention whores usually can’t make it past the first mile running, and quickly abandon the endeavor. Why work so hard when you can just post a duckface on facebook?

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9 Comments on “Runners are apparently nothing but attention whores”

  1. agiledog Says:

    Despite all the crap we’ve given you at the H2 about exercise, I have never thought you did it for attention.

    I know you do it to get away from those damn kids! 🙂

    I’m not gonna go read that douche’s article – it is clear he (she?) is just jealous.

  2. Car in Says:

    Yea, he’s just so off base. Narcissists/attention whores do all sorts of things – I don’t think running attracts ’em any more than anything else.

    The ironic thing is that I always considered running such a solitary sport. It’s just you versus your mind, which is often trying to talk you out of it. I never thought of the people who see me. I’m usually sorta embarrassed when people say (small town, so people do see me) “I saw you yesterday running by bla bla bla …”

    Good GOD. I hope I wasn’t blowing a honker out of my nose, or going at a glacial pace when they passed.

    THAT is what I think of when people say they saw me.

  3. agiledog Says:

    Narcissists/attention whores do all sorts of things – I don’t think running attracts ‘em any more than anything else.

    Seems like it would attract them less – it is so much work, after all. There are tons of easier ways to get people to notice you.

  4. Car in Says:


    And – I’ve had people get dangerously close to running me down. They are always people who are looking RIGHT at me, and don’t appear to be in good shape at all.

    As in, I think they do it on purpose. So, me running may elicit anger in those watching me, but aside from me paying attention so they don’t run me down, I don’t much care about the attention.

  5. agiledog Says:

    I don’t much care about the attention.

    That’s why you blog, instead. 🙂

  6. that’s why I walk my dogs. so everyone can see how pretty they are.

  7. Car in Says:

    So, Dog Walkers are attention whores.

  8. […] Runners are apparently nothing but attention whores […]

  9. Susan McBain Says:

    I enjoyed your article and agreed complexity with everything right up until you completely took the p@@@ out of bikers. I am a triathlete therefore a runner and biker. I meet my friends for coffee after a ride cos it’s a nice thing to do and after burning 2000+ calories I need cake. We wear loud shirts because it’s the style and alps so that cars see us and don’t kill us. We have own expensive bikes not cos we want to show off but we have saved hard for them, we love our biking and it’s an investment to go a little faster.

    Unfortunately your article just made you sound as vicious as the blog you were condoning yourself.

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