So how do you make sure the race still goes right, at least, as far as any of your non-running friends or acquaintances are concerned?
You brag. Loudly and repeatedly. And you never let an annoying fact get in the way. It doesn’t matter that you walked off the course 17 seconds after the gun. Barely anyone you know runs right? They’ll never know the difference.
But you have to be clever about it. There’s always one office Johnny Asshole that’ll take the time to dig around the internet looking for your race results. And, God forbid, race photos. You know as well as I that a photo of you holding your knee with your head flipped back in a painful grimace is a dead giveaway that maybe you weren’t actually crowned King of All Runners and carried around on the shoulders of the defeated for 45 minutes.
However, you can, in fact, BE the King of All Runners if you follow these simple rules.
- Never use your real name when entering a race. You’ll never be found on an internet race results check. Or sites like Athlinks. No one can ever judge your actual times.
- Always enter an age group at least two categories older. I’m 41 but I typically compete in the 50-55 age group. It’s so much easier to win age group awards.
- Only enter small races with no internet presence. Believe it or not, there are still races that only advertise through flyers and mailings or signs at your local running store with no race results posted online. Jackpot!
- Enter races at least two hours from home. Anywhere closer may put you in contact with someone that knows you. Too risky.
- Wear your race bib over your face like a 19th century bank robber. Race photographers are a pesky nuisance determined to ruin your carefully constructed web of lies. One image of you panting in a sweat drenched shirt to catch up to a 12 year old girl blows the whole sham.
- Order various first place trophies from a trophy shop at least three cities away to display on your desk. Do NOT put a name of the race on the trophy. NO PAPER TRAILS.
- Make sure you running friends and non-running friends never mix company. You’ll need to tell each group horror stories about the other group so they’ll never want to mingle. This might mean two separate home holiday parties but that’s the price you must be willing to pay. Just make sure to remove the trophies before the ‘running friends’ holiday party.
- Always have a knee or ankle wrapped in gauze. This is a readymade excuse for skipping out on the local charity run that folks in the office are always participating in.
Follow these 8 simple rules and you can brag all you want, repeatedly, obnoxiously, and with complete immunity to discovery. It takes a lot of work to set up this fantasy life but, heck, if you want to be a great runner you need to put the work in.
Or you can just work really hard at the running and forget the other stuff. But who has time for that? It’s much better to follow those rules and, just to be safe, keep a horrible performance evaluation on hand in case Johnny Asshole gets a little too suspicious and clicky-clicky with his skeptical finger.
Your title as King of All Runners - and the respect and prestige of your friends and colleagues - is just a bit of planning and a short drive three cities away to a safe-distance-from-home trophy shop!
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