Culture House Daily

Why I hate runners

23 June 2014

1:00 PM

23 June 2014

1:00 PM

They annoy dogs, drivers and cyclists, and get in the way of pushchairs, wheelchairs and groups of people out for a stroll enjoying the weather. Who are they? Joggers, of course. And runners. Runners, however, hate joggers. ‘No, I am not a jogger,’ you will have heard, ‘I am a runner.’

The difference between joggers and runners is, I am told by a runner, the speed. My sense of it from listening to the interminable boring-on of both groups is that running is seen as some kind of romantic bid for freedom, whereas jogging is nothing but a slog to keep fit or lose the Chablis gut.

What I really love to see, when I awake at 7.30am after a terrible night’s sleep brought on by a crate of gin, hot curry and the trapped nerve in my back, is a smug tweet reading: ‘REALLY struggled to do 15km today. Don’t understand it. Sailed through 20 yesterday.’ Or: ‘Great run around the park today. Felt like I was floating. Now for celery, cucumber and spirulina juice. GOOD MORNING EVERYONE!’

No one – not even other runners – wants to read this kind of self-congratulatory wank-fest. There is never a time when a non-runner/jogger will read those tweets and smile. We all, whatever our levels of fitness, hate them.


I loathe the lycra, so tight that, on men, you can see their religion. I detest the fancy, expensive water bottles they carry in one hand, their iPad Air in the other. I can’t bear it when you stop to talk to one you know and they keep jogging on the spot. How rude. I often feel like joining in.

Why do they think it is OK to run at speed and in double file towards those of us out walking? Is it OK that we are knocked off our path or face being pelted with sweat and muscle? It would appear that runners always claim the right of way.

Runners go on and on about their ‘need’ to run, in the same way as I describe my need for hard liquor. I was with one recently in the middle of the Tuscan countryside. We were winding our way up (like all civilised people, in a car) a steep hill. All I could think about was the bottle of chilled fizz waiting for us in the fridge. My friend, an obsessive runner, was rubber-necking the view, looking for tracks on which to ply her evil doings. Imagine it, non-runners, that you actually daydream about the joys of putting on stupid clothing and pounding the ground until you are fit to drop. Am I missing something?

I have no problem admitting that I am jealous and admiring of those who are fit and healthy, which joggers and runners are by default. I wish I could run like the wind without breaking a sweat and wrap my legs round my neck. But that doesn’t stop them being the most irritating folk in any park.

I am beginning to form the opinion that all pedestrians should carry stun guns. Of course, I wouldn’t dare use one – because, let’s face it, I’m not fit enough to run away.

Julie Bindel’s new book Straight Expectations: What Does It Mean To Be Gay Today? (Guardian Books) is out this week

Follow Julie Bindel on Twitter @bindelj

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Show comments
  • topbottom

    Joggers, runners whatever… They think they own the street or sidewalks. I keep my line and if they’re too close I just elbow them.

  • Earl Henson

    Most runners I meet are boring. They don’t socialize well. I saw a picture of runners I know at a party, none were engaged in conversation and all looked bored. I do have a good friend who is a runner and very funny though!

  • Kevin T

    I used to run, for about a year, until the mind numbing boredom and repetition of it sent me to the gym, where at least you can vary the cardio exercises and watch TV while you’re doing it. I did try very hard to stay out of people’s way!

    Now I tend to agree with you. Runners are for the most part cyclists without the bike: psychotically self-centred trendies who treat every other road or footpath user as enemies or inferiors. Working on the South Bank, I’d go for a walk at lunchtime and have to dodge them (and the cyclists) like I was playing a video game.

  • shaft120

    These people, of which you talk and loathe, are likely wankers regardless of whether they run/jog and would be just as annoying in whatever activity they undertook. I can assure you it is quite easy for normal people to partake in activities such as this without being tossers about it. You dont have to wear lycra, or if you want to avoid chaffing you can wear it under normal shorts without having to display male or female camel toe to the world.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Never mind Julie, when they are older their knees will exert revenge on them, especially the road runners, if their hearts don’t leave the building first. Many of the fitness nazis I have had the misfortune to serve alongside are already dead as in ‘dropped, suddenly, in the pursuit of fitness’.

  • Colin Sinclair

    Nicely put. I run, frequently and I can find nothing in this article with which to disagree, they (runners) are selfish and dull, in the main. Running is good, talking about running is very bad. I have spent the last four years as a race director of a major 10K and some of the selfishness displayed by entrants is astounding – like no one else exists but them. I could write a book, but it would be boring. Joggers are quite different. Joggers wear headphones.

  • jmjm208

    what good is it for someone to have a super-fit body if the soul is not saved. One can have an athlete’s body and yet be heading for Hellfire upon death. The only way to avoid this is to repent of sin and accept Jesus Christ as a personal Saviour.

  • HJ777

    Has anyone other than Julie Bindel ever seen a runner with an iPad Air in one hand?

  • John Tait

    Good wind-up Julie.

  • The late Fred Feast

    I hate bloody lesbians, but that’s me for you.

  • Lucy Sky Diamonds

    So you hate Mo Farah? ooohhhh!

  • James

    I prefer them to fatties taking up half the pavement. Usually they wear leggings that are several sizes too small, sometimes it looks like their unmentionables have their own set of unmentionables.

  • global city

    Surely this article is racist?

  • HJ777

    I run frequently and never inconvenience anyone. I wear a running vest and shorts and never carry anything.

    I am, however, frequently inconvenienced by cars parked blocking pavements that force me to run on busy roads.

    • Fergus Pickering

      But where are the cars to park?

      • HJ777

        That’s their problem. Pavements are for pedestrians, not for car parking. Don’t drive a car if you can’t find somewhere to put it.

        Imagine the reaction if drivers if pedestrians routinely walked or stopped in the middle of roads.

        • Advocatus_Diaboli_69

          Pavements are for pedestrians – not for cycling f**kwits then?

          • HJ777

            It’s usually illegal to cycle on pavements, so obviously not, unless the pavement is designated as being ‘shared use’.

            Of course, it is a scandal that safe facilities for cyclists aren’t provided in this country, which is why some cyclists do it. In fact, we’re very poor on safety for pedestrians on pavements (and in general) in this country too. Motor vehicles kill more here than in most European countries – including about one per week on pavements.

            • Advocatus_Diaboli_69

              “safe facilities for cyclists aren’t provided in this country, which is why some cyclists do it” – perhaps some do in some areas, but down my way there’s a 30mph urban zone with cycle lanes on both sides of the road (complete with different road surface) and some adult cyclists still ride on the pavements.

              • HJ777

                There may be cycle lanes but are they safe? Often they are distinctly hazardous to cyclists, which is why cyclists don’t use them.

                The Highway Code says that drivers should allow at least as much room when overtaking a cyclist as they would for a car. However, when there is a cycle lane consisting of little more than paint, drivers usually think they can overtake a cyclist provided they don’t cross the painted line.

                The absolute minimum width recommended by the DoT for cycle lanes is 1.5m (2.0m is what they prefer) . This is recommended for safety reasons. If the cycle lane is narrower than this, then it is not safe by the DoT’s own admission. How wide are the cycle lanes where you live? Are they physically separated from the carriageway as they are in many other countries?

                • Advocatus_Diaboli_69

                  They’re perfectly safe. Like I said, different road surface etc. Some cyclists use them, others don’t.

                • HJ777

                  So they are wider than the recommended safety minimum and are physically separated from the road?

        • Fergus Pickering

          That makes no sense if you think or five seconds. I take it you don’t have a car.

          • HJ777

            I thought about it for five seconds – it still makes sense.

            I have, and use, a car and a bike.

  • Kitty MLB

    Julie, Runners can be annoying if you don’t move out of their way quick enough
    but they really are not as annoying as loathsome cyclists, in this country I might add,
    we lived in Holland for a while and cyclists and cars, walkers all get on.
    Why just mention men what about women.. are we naturally more appealing
    unless loathsome Yasmin Alibhai Brown who you’d want to trip up.
    Runners do seem to be in their own little world, I often wonder if they ever stop
    to notice the beauty of spring or autumn or see a hedgehog or deer.. but I suppose
    that depends where you live.

    • HJ777

      Cyclists, cars and pedestrians in the Netherlands all get on because good facilities are provided for all three groups, in contrast to here where cars are prioritised and facilities for cyclists and pedestrians are poor.

  • Tao

    Recreational exercise is a privileged activity. Who has the money, time, and energy to expend for no constructive gains other than narcissism and self-righteousness? That’s right. Julie hit the nail on the head with comparing the “need” to her habit. Ultimately, runners are hooked on the endorphins that elevate mood and relieve pain, but I think it can be objectively noted that daily running is a healthier than nightly booze, both physically and mentally. It’s the smug attitude and inconsiderate displays of entitlement that make it so douchey.

    • HJ777

      “It’s the smug attitude and inconsiderate displays of entitlement…”

      When? Where?

      I object to inconsiderate displays of stupidity. I doubt you’re going to apologise though.

    • La Fold

      “Recreational exercise is a privileged activity” Absolute Cobblers. Many of the young lads ive boxed with (both western and Thai) over the years came from some of the poorest and toughest backgrounds ive ever seen.
      Not only did it provide an escape for some of them it gave them a chance to excel at something, give them a sense of achievement and self worth, kept them off the streets at night, gave them discipline, kept a lot of them off the booze at weekends and a whole host of other benefits.

  • cromwell

    Dear Julie can we have a picture of your bottom to compare? Or is this rant just jealousy?

    • julian

      Yes, I`d like to see Julie`s bottom, too.

  • Michelle Brown

    Oh dear. Someone got out the wrong side of the bed this morning. I run so I don’t have to eat like a semi-hibernating tortoise, the fact that I go at the same speed as one is neither here nor there, I run in a group which gives me a social life, and it gets me fit after a 30 year smoking habit. I tend generally not to post a lot about it on social media because I run for me, not the pat on the back from everyone else, I don’t feel the need for lots of self attention. I guess that’s why I never became a journalist…..

  • cromwell

    Runners are great, they dont hold up traffic like those lycra louts on bikes.

    • Kitty MLB

      Those Lycra louts on bikes are a bane of my existence. They are always having racing competitions down the narrow lanes where I live and always
      ride in the middle of the road. We were at a reservoir causeway last year
      where a bicycle race was due and they had cones out. We were there
      very early before the race really started and some cyclists had a go about us
      being in their way with the car.

      • HJ777

        They are ‘always’ having racing competitions where you live?

        Every day all day, you mean? Or could you be exaggerating?

    • Lucy Sky Diamonds

      Luckily my bike has a 750cc engine…

      • Kennybhoy

        Oooh … What make…?

  • clevispin

    ‘I wish I could run like the wind without breaking a sweat ‘.

    Try running up a sweat without breaking wind. This really is a breaking wind sort of article.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Wanna know who i Hate?

    The people I can’t stand , that’s who.

    • salieri

      Steady on, Hex; if there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s intolerance

      • La Fold

        “Theres only two things i cant stand. One. Intolerance of other peoples race, way of life and culture. Two, the damn dirty dutch!”

      • Hexhamgeezer

        I can stand intolerance. It’s mealy mouthed indecisive equivocation that rumples my ciabatta.

  • Saltash

    Wow, what a nasty intolerant little spew – hate? Really, that’s a strong word. Perhaps you don’t have enough real work to do.

    • helicoil

      Once you realise that Julie’s articles are mainly schoolgirl whinges and sexist rants, you begin to understand that her bad back is more than likely down to that ma-hoo-sive chip on her shoulder.

      • Saltash

        Indeed, I shouldn’t read them really. I’ll never learn.

    • kartikaye

      you know you hate just as much, you’re just pretending you don’t so you can hate julie.

      • Saltash

        No, I’ve checked and I’m pretty sure I don’t.

  • so3paperclips

    Interesting that is OK to stun gun (male) runners but unacceptable to want to punch (female) TV panelists. Must keep up.

    • Saltash

      Spot on

    • Alison

      Well, to be fair, she doesn’t actually specify male runners. And runners as a breed, as it were, are not quite as specific as Yasmin Alibhai Brown. On the other hand it is a kind of racism in the new left sense of the word, because it is about hating a particular group of people for their particular beliefs and ‘religious’ practices.

      • John Lea

        Nope, I hate them because they are arrogant (mostly) and presumptious (nearly always), fully expecting others to get out of their way, allowing them to charge down the local high street unimpeded in their hideous latex garb.

        • Alison

          Exactly, you will have to start imagining they are all opressed in some way, then you can re-educate yourself and start liking and sharing pictures of them on Facebook, with statements like “When did you choose to be a lazy, fat slob?” written underneath.

        • HJ777

          Runners in latex?

          You have a vivid (and possibly slightly pervy) imagination.

        • Ooh!MePurse!

          It is for the same reasons that I share this feeling for cyclists. Smug and selfish with an unjustified sense of entitlement.

  • Blindsideflanker

    It sounds as if Julie Brindle resents being reminded of her sloth .

    If there is a problem on the pavements it is the complete lack of consideration you get from other pedestrians. In trying to get to your destination you are more likely to suffer from a pedestrian pile up because of some pedestrian has stopped in mid stride to look into a shop window than any problem from someone runniong. And as for pregnant women they use their bump as a battering ram you daren’t connect with.

    No the most antisocial users of the pavement are other pedestrians. As we have a Government who likes nothing better to meddle in people’s lives, they couldn’t do better than have a pedestrian licensing system, where no one is allowed out until they pass a pedestrian test, as we could then get to where we are going a great deal more quickly, I feel sure this would have a massive positive effect on the Country’s economy. .

    • Kennybhoy

      Yup. Runners are, in the main, aware of where they are in relation to others. Third place on Kenny’s sh*t list after cyclists and prams on buses is pedestrians so caught up in their fracking iphones that they cause pedestrian pile ups!

      • La Fold

        YES! YES!! I deliberately walk into them now. The actions of a misanthrope but the way I see it is I’m teaching them something special. Spacial awareness.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        It bugs me that on a bus, and I let rip, some people look disapprovingly. Most folk laff but the odd curmudgeon wrinkles their nose. I don’t mind prams on busses as long as the pram is clean. I cant stand those frayed sweat stained chariots pushed by lasses with ‘wide load’ jeans on and a tab in their gob.

  • John Lea

    Well said, Julie! Runners are on a par with cyclists when it comes to narcissistic loathsomeness. In an ideal world each would be obliterated on a daily basis via heart attacks and collisions with heavy vehicles.

    • global city

      and Left wingers, don’t forget about the lefties.

    • Kennybhoy

      Naw. Cyclists and prams on buses are waaay worse than runners!

      • La Fold

        If you cant afford a car, then you cant afford a child!