The Encyclopedia of Runningness (part three)


Hi, lovely reader. It’s been quite a while since my last installment of this thing and, to be honest, I haven’t bothered to read back the previous ones. That means there’s a very good chance that you’re about to read words that I’ve covered before, probably with completely different definitions. Sorry.



“Did Not Finish”. When someone starts a race but doesn’t finish, this is how they’ll be listed in the results. Runners will always beat themselves up over a DNF, but there’s no shame in it. “Did Not Finish is greater than Did Not Start” is a popular phrase among runners, and is really easy to say until you DNF. There are many reasons for a DNF, including injury, exhaustion and being Katie Price.



“Eaten By Bears”. Similar to DNF, but a bit more specific.



An event that incorporates running, swimming and cycling. I’ve never tried it, for the simple reason that it’s hard enough sucking at one sport and I don’t feel quite ready to suck at three yet. The feeling you get when your running buddies start getting into triathlons is identical to the feeling you get when your childhood friends go off to college and start hanging round with a bunch of people who are much cooler than you and like bands you’ve never heard of.

I’m tempted to start my own version of the triathlon, with the events consisting of “jogging”, “meandering” and “cake”.



CaniX (also known as CaniCross) is basically a combination of running and dog walking. I’ve never tried it, but like to imagine myself running carefree along a beach, my faithful furry companion bounding joyfully along beside me; the two of us sharing an unspoken primal bond of brotherhood, undaunted by however many miles may lay ahead. Of course, the reality would look a lot less like a soft-focus Bodyform advert and a lot more like a red-faced bloke being swearily dragged round a park by an Irish Wolfhound. Also, I don’t own a dog.



It’s very important to get your hydration right. For example, during a race, water should be carried in a bottle or a Camelbak. Never a freshly boiled kettle.



These are the people who harbour such deep, burning hatred for people dressed in chicken costumes that they run at a 5 minute/mile pace just to avoid having to be anywhere near them during a race.



The art of increasing carbohydrate intake in the days prior to a big race, thereby ensuring that the body’s glycogen levels are fully stocked up. Some athletes are so focussed on perfecting this process that they have never even had the opportunity to run so much as a single step, and instead dedicate every spare moment to shuffling off in the direction of Greggs to see how many sausage rolls they can carb-load before Homes Under the Hammer starts.


Jogger’s nipple

A painful affliction caused by friction between nipple and clothing. Every runner learns very early on that a simple cotton T-shirt transforms into a thing of pure evil after a couple of sweaty miles. It can be prevented in a number of ways: lubricant, tape/plasters or (if you’re a man*) simply running bare-chested. You probably shouldn’t combine all three, unless you want to end up on some sort of list.

“Jogger’s Nipple” is also a great name for a race horse.



To be “chicked” is to be beaten by a female in an event that’s traditionally male-dominated, such as running, weight-lifting or the finals of the 2007 East Yorkshire men-only peeing-standing-up championship. Since taking up running, I’ve become accustomed to being not only chicked, but also tortoised, nanned and, on one rainy September afternoon, Christopher Biggins-ed.



I once captured Scott Jurek by laying a trail of little shiny medals that led into a cardboard box propped up by a stick, Wiley Coyote style.

Not really. But I think most runners would agree that a race medal is a lure that takes on almost supernatural properties. The medals will often be cheap and generic, with no distinction between 10th place and 10000th, but that’s not the point. It’s what the medal represents: I did it. I endured the training, I conquered the miles, and regardless of my finishing time, I won.


* Or a particularly liberated lady.

7 thoughts on “The Encyclopedia of Runningness (part three)

  1. So now I get to worry about EBB too… and here’s me just about to run across the country. Brilliant.

    Assuming I survive, I’m coming to have a go at your triathlon – it’s my kind of event.

  2. A bit late to the party – been busy this week – but I have to say that I can’t stand the word ‘bling’. Which is odd, perhaps, since I love the stuff. Could you include synonyms for your dictionary words? 🙂

    • Synonyms? That’s a world of clever away from me and my tawdry little brain.

      Btw: haven’t forgotten about your Q&A thingy. It’ll be up soon 🙂

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