Tuesday, 27th September 2022
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This week Gary's feeling...rungry

by @garyfallsover
Friday 21st October 2016
Tags  Gary Dalton   |   runfie
I’m perturbed.
Now perturbed isn’t a word you’d normally find a plain speaking copper from the west of Ireland using but in this instance I think it fits. Because, rather unusually, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this issue I’m going to write about. And that in itself is a bit of a source of confusion to me.
I mean I’m normally so confident in my opinions and woe betide anyone who might disagree. That doesn’t mean I’m right of course, just that I think I am. I have learned that’s not the same thing.
And despite my natural hatred for pretty much everything I find myself just holding back just a little, afraid to push past the normal boundaries of good taste and convention in fear that just maybe there may be some good in this latest target of my dislike.
So what is it this time? The creeping suspicion that our world of ultra-running isn’t as free from doping as we all thought it was? Or how about the fact you can’t leave the house these days without someone on an FKT attempt almost running you over in their van. Or how about the rise of the ‘influencer’ hashtagging their way across multiple social media forums in a bid to convince that whatever shite product they’re been given for free really is what’s going to find you that PB performance?
Nothing so worthy this Friday afternoon I’m afraid. Today I’m going to rant on about language. And specifically I’m going to try and figure out how I feel about the proliferation of running related words seemingly made up to suggest the user is part of a special club, one which you can only be part of if you speak their own peculiar vernacular.
Words like runger, that feeling of unabashed hunger you get post run when nothing is safe from being shoved into your gaping maw. Or runch, the act of going for a run in your lunch break. Because clearly we need a specific word for that.  Or even the less well known maranoia, that nagging feeling that every slight cough and niggle in the lead up to an important race is somehow terminal. 
Or Runfie. A bastardardisation of an already wanky word. The act of taking a selfie whilst running. Oh how I hate you runfie even though I know I myself have succumbed to your narcissism. How I hate that feeling of hope that in some way you can capture the joy you feel while running when instead all I capture is a red faced middle aged man trying not to throw up his ringpiece. 
How I hate it when I see smug tweets from Tamsin saying that instead of some Quinoa from Wholefoods she did a 10k around Victoria Park and feels fantastic. Or see perfectly coiffured and bearded hipster running ironically in a plaid shirt, perfectly filtered and delivered to Instagram.
Initially whenever I saw them all I saw was smugness. Someone displaying to all that they were in the club. They spoke the special language of the runner and their command of it meant that they too were in command. Not a normal run for them, not by a long shot. This was a runch and it could only be undertaken if the stars were aligned, the running Gods appeased and Waitrose was out of mung beans.
But then I had a thought. Yeah, I know, but bear with me. I’ve always despised the part of the running community, particularly the ultra community, which seems to think that they’re something  special. That what they do is worthy of note somehow. As if pedestrianism somehow transports them above normal folk and that their frankly poor ability to convert Haribo and Hokas into mediocre facebook posts liked only by great aunts and the agoraphobic is somehow worthy of note. 
But I suspect I’ve been looking at it the wrong way. What if instead of being exclusionary these words, this made up nonsense actually made people feel like they were part of something.  That made them feel special and included and so wanted to run more. The likes, favourites and re-tweets meant that they found validation in their running and maybe saw the benefit in a more immediate way than just a fitness increase. We all find our motivation in different ways and though I reserve the right to be irritated by what I feel is wrong with the community my overriding desire is that more people experience it. And if someone is motivated to go out for a run purely because they want to Instagram a new outfit then that doesn’t change the fact they’ve still gone out for a run!
So while I’ll still post photos of what I’ve seen  in preference to what I’m wearing I can see the benefit to both. Though if I ever use the word runch again you have my express permission to force feed me fairtrade Kale.

Header image: Nicki Dugan Pogue (CC BY-SA 2.0)

About The Author

Gary Dalton

Gary Dalton is a rugby loving, crime fighting, white Irish Muslim ultra runner. Despite all this he's not a complete eejit. 

Gary is originally from the west of Ireland and can't actually remember when he moved to London - he blames a heavy diet of being tackled by prop forwards and potatoes for the memory loss. He hates going out for runs, canals and borderline hypothermia and loves ice cream and going out for runs. 


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