Runners are a friendly bunch.
One of the first times this really hit home was at my first ever half marathon, the Pumpkin Run 2011. I’d just arrived an hour or so before the start, and was feeling very nervous as I looked around at all the serious racing snakes limbering up. I felt like a fraud. What the hell was I thinking, being here amongst all these proper runners? In fact, I was just waiting for the inevitable tap on the shoulder from a pair of clipboard-toting heavies who’d been sent to (in no particular order) break my elbows and politely ask me to leave.
But then something nice happened.
A fellow runner came up to me as I was sorting my gear out* and asked if she could leave her bag under my car until after the race, as it was starting to rain. Of course I agreed, and all of a sudden I felt more at ease in my surroundings. That insignificant little back-and-forth had highlighted the fact that runners are an approachable lot after all, always happy to help each other out. The miles can be hard, but we’re all in it together.
I know it’s not at all like me to overthink things, but I have. So while out for a run earlier this week it occurred to me that when Ms Friendly said:
“Are you running too? Would it be okay if I left my bag under your car to keep it out of the rain?”
What she was really saying was either:
A: “Are you running too? Would it be okay if I left my bag under your car to keep it out of the rain?”
B: “I’m a sultry Russian lady-spy, being chased by shadowy men with earpieces and questionable moral compasses. I can see that you are brave and resourceful, so of all the people here today at this sporting event, I am choosing you to keep the microfilm safe. Under your grubby Ford Focus”.
C: “I want to keep my bag dry until I finish the race, so I need to choose someone who definitely won’t be moving their car until after I’ve finished. Ah, look at you. There’s no way in hell you’ll be finished heaving your lardy carcass around 13.1 miles anytime in the foreseeable future. You’ll do nicely”.
Of course, it was probably A (but with perhaps a light sprinkling of C). It could have been B, but if it was then I wouldn’t be able to tell you, and would probably go as far as writing a silly blog post as a double-bluff to throw you off the scent.
Aha!* I wasn’t really sorting my gear out at all. I was just shuffling the contents of my boot from one side to the other to make myself look busy so I wouldn’t have to mingle with the aforementioned scary proper runners and risk being found out.