The ugliness of social shaming 

Seriously, we are in 2020 and people still act as if running is an elite club.

While on a running forum this week, I observed a discussion where people lamented the amount of other people they’d seen out running. 

What’s with all these new runners, they raged. Who the hell are they! I’ve never seen them before! They don’t even LOOK like runners. 

WTAF? 

I’ve stepped out of Facebook groups because the judgey-cliquey attitude makes me cross. And I don’t want to waste my energy feeling that way. There’s plenty of truth in the old adage ‘if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’. 

I don’t *look* like a runner and never have. There are days when I feel like a novice; sometimes my legs just don’t want to go. There are others when I feel invincible and could keep running and running and running and running. 

One of the greatest things about running is that anybody can give it a go. Any shape, any size, any ability.

Running is for everyone.

My own experiences – my reality – of running over the last three weeks have been joyous, exhilarating and fun. I’ve discovered new routes near my house and designed training sessions where I willingly – willingly! – slog up hills repeatedly.

Last week, as I legged it around my local football pitch 15 times, another runner passing through the park gave me a round of applause and shouted ‘keep going!’ It made me feel 10ft tall.

Seeing another person is a real treat as I mentioned in an earlier blog.  

It’s these feelings and lived experiences I want to hold on to because they are the ones that matter.

Right now, running is the perfect exercise for avoiding physical contact. Even those living in urban areas can do it while maintaining a safe distance from others. 

That people are choosing to exercise or give running a go should be seen as something to celebrate. Those who indulge in close-minded condemnation of others are simply showing us what they really are. 

Truth is, you don’t ever know a person’s reasons for running unless they tell you. 

That person? They may have run for years but you’ve never seen them because you’re normally at work. 

That person? They may be taking decisive action to improve their physical health.

That person? Could be returning from injury. 

That person? May have had a bad day and needs their ‘fix’ (let’s face it there could be worse ways to let off steam). 

That person? They probably love running. Just like you.

Lots of love to you all x

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I'm a writer, journalist and communications officer based in the South West of England. I write about wellbeing, the outdoors and life in a rural playground.

One thought on “The ugliness of social shaming 

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