The Encyclopedia of Runningness (part four)



A bandit is someone who takes part in a race without bothering with the hassle of signing up for it or paying. The worst bandits wear fake race numbers and even pick up goodie bags and medals at the end. The nature of large races means that it’s practically impossible to stop a determined bandit from slipping past the barriers and onto the route at some point. I’ve written to the IAAF suggesting the implementation of sniper towers and razor wire, and for marshals to be allowed to shoot people with a Taser if they look a bit shifty. I haven’t heard back from them yet.


A Paarlauf (translation:  “pair run”) is a training drill which you do in pairs, usually on a running track. One of you runs flat out for a set distance (e.g. 200m) while the other does a jogging recovery until it’s time to swap over. A few things to bear in mind:

  1. It’s considered unsporting to hide up a tree when it’s your turn to take over the fast bit.
  2. This is an excellent training drill to do with your imaginary friend.
  3. Always make sure the other person knows they’re taking part in a paarlauf. Don’t just sprint up behind a random jogger and shout “GO GO GO! MOVE!!!” at them.
  4. I think Paarlauf is also the name of an Ikea footstool.

Obstacle event

Like any other race, but with added bonus of obstacles such as walls, zipwires, electrified crocodile pits and oh-so-very-much mud. Of course, the hardest obstacle to get past is the mass of competitors; a sea of corporate team building types, all high-fiving each other and calling each other “dog”. These races usually have badass names like “Muddy Blitzkrieg Mudmageddon 2014”, “Hell-Panther Kamikaze Soul-Smasher 5k” and “The Upper Laxton Sodomiser”.


In the world of running, toenails are as permanent a fixture as ice cubes in a sauna. It’s best to resign yourself to the fact that, at some point in your running career, at least one of them will grow tired of being attached to you and will make a break for it. As icky as this may sound to anyone outside our community, among runners this is seen as a rite of passage and something to be lauded. Some runners actually collect discarded toenails and make necklaces out of them. Nobody talks to these runners.

Water station (elite marathon runners on the telly)

  1. Glide up to water station
  2. Without breaking pace, snatch up a paper cup of water
  3. Drink water
  4. Toss empty cup to the side of the road

Water stations (every other runner)

  1. Blunder diagonally across road towards water station
  2. Stop to pick up a paper cup of water
  3. Have three other runners slam into the back of you
  4. Jog away from the water station, sloshing half of the water over your shoes
  5. Try to drink water. Get most of it up your nose and the rest down your front
  6. None must enter your mouth under any circumstances
  7. Accidentally hit large angry-looking gentleman in the face with empty cup
  8. Run a bit faster

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

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