I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I frequent the running threads on Disboards.com. People training for the same RunDisney event can come together to ask questions about the event or simply encourage one another during training.
Recently, one woman posted that she was out on her local running path when she passed two women walking. As the runner passed, she overheard one of the walkers say to her companion, “Look at that fat girl running! Who does she think she’s kidding?”
Let’s cut to my first thought. Who is she kidding? Nobody. Because she is out there running and the woman who made that comment was not. No joke. Anyone who has tried running should never make a comment like that. If you’ve tried it, you know how hard it is to get started. I’m skinny, scrawny even, and I still thought that getting up to 3 miles was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I have nothing but admiration and respect for people who are starting out with extra baggage.
The people who stick with running deserve every second they have of feeling good about themselves. Anyone who tries to rob them of even a tiny bit of satisfaction deserves whatever karmic butt-bite is coming to them.
Everywhere you look, we are inundated with information on how to lose weight. We call obesity “an epidemic”. The First Lady has chosen nutrition and weight management as her signature issue. We are saturated with ads for gyms, pills, surgeries and diets. A big deal is made out of wanting people to get in shape. We have a snarky “People of Walmart” idea of overweight people sitting on the couch, shoveling junk food in. Yet, here was someone leaving the living room and lacing up to get healthy the old-fashioned, hard-workin’ way and she encounters someone who cuts her down just for trying. That kind of high-school mentality is exactly what a lot of people have in their own minds already – “I don’t deserve to be here. I can’t do this. This is too hard. Who am I kidding?” They don’t need validation of those negative thoughts from emotionally stunted Mean Girls.
Our bodies are a shell, and we don’t know what’s going on underneath. You can run multiple marathons a year and not be skinny. Running alone does not shed all the pounds, but it does get you heart healthy and have strong muscles. I have experienced runner friends who still want to shed 20+ extra pounds but could kick skinnier people’s asses in a half marathon because they have stamina and endurance.
Overall, the running community is very supportive. We are like cult members who are always looking for the next recruit to turn. Sure there are “serious” runners who just want you to get the hell out of their way, but for the most part I have never been to a race of any distance where a group of finishers and volunteers was not sticking around to cheer in the huffers and puffers bringing up the rear – people of all ages, shapes and sizes.
I’ll say it again: anyone who is a runner should never make that ugly statement criticizing someone else’s right to be out running since they know how hard it can be. Anyone who is not a runner needs to keep their negative opinions to themselves.