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A Word About Primadonna Attitudes and Runners

Posted by scott on September 16, 2009

I’m sorry to say that an otherwise great time at Lutsen ended on a sour note right as we were leaving, when my wife encountered a runner with a Primadonna attitude.  The runner was complaining about the poor course markings going to the finish area where it dips down behind the condos.  She was complaining that they should have had someone posted there directing runners.  She instead ran past all that and continued down the road in front of the condos before she realized her mistake and turned around.  My wife commented sympathetically that she saw that happen when she was looking for our kids in the dark down the road the other direction.  “Why didn’t you SAY something??!!” the runner barked, “I was wearing a headlamp, what did you THINK I was doing??!!” she barked again.  Of course I didn’t hear all of this until later, or I would have offered my thoughts at the time.

I can’t stand this weird sense of entitlement that many runners have, thinking that everyone in sight is required to give them any and all assistance they possibly need, now.  Guess what:  no one else cares about your race as much as you do.  You make the mistakes, you live with them.  People help you when they are able and willing, and you thank them.  It’s pretty simple.  Of all places on Earth, this is especially true at at ultramarathon on the Superior Hiking Trail.  Have you seen the course ratings in Ultrarunning magazine?

I could have been more sympathetic to the runner had this exchange happened the night of the race.  I was as beat as anyone at the finish, and your mind gets mushy when you are exhausted and finishing in the dark.  You just want to be DONE.  But this was the next morning, and by then I would expect people to cool down and see the bigger picture.  This is the one thing that really bugs me about the running world, as this sense of weird entitlement is just too prevalent for my liking.  I haven’t encountered this nearly as much in the ultra world, I thought I had left this behind at road races.  Fortunately, the vast majority of the regulars I have encountered don’t seem to have this attitude.

And finally, for the record, I thought the course was superbly marked right up to the finish.  Good job Don and Bonnie!  The flags jump out at you in the dark with a headlamp.  And no, I don’t think they needed to have anyone posted there to point to the several flags marking the turn.  I went off course at the finish in the Spring race, because rather than remember the pre-race instructions I clearly heard, I followed the path that I was convinced the course would follow. I’m guessing this runner did something similar.  It’s an innocent mistake, it happens, you fix it and move on.

On a lighter note, we stopped on the way home for a fantastic lunch at the Lemon Wolf Cafe in Beaver Bay and then Betty’s Pies for dessert.  So we still ended the weekend on a good note.


8 Responses to “A Word About Primadonna Attitudes and Runners”

  1. Footacer J said

    Sorry to hear that, guess people get a little self absorbed. I imagine it also would have been hard to tell what the runner was doing when veering off — maybe she was looking for a bathroom break spot, maybe she was looking for someone in order to DNF, maybe she could be one of those people who don’t like their mistakes pointed out to them by random people. All of which would have been cases where your wife may have been met with annoyance for shouting something out. Ends up being a lose lose situation.

  2. Harmer said

    There is a woman that has earned a reputation for bitching about courses everywhere she goes…it would be hilarious if this was the same one. Sorry your wife had to endure the wrath. God forbid she went 30 seconds off course in that 12 hour race.

  3. Londell said

    Mark it up as a Serena / Kanya issue… the runner was out of control and blamed everyone else for the problems they cause themselves… Hey, so she missed a corner, we all have, but some of us take responsibility for our actions instead of blaming everyone or everything else…

    I still recall pacing Steve Quick mile 60-80 of his first successful 100 mile… He was a real mean human for part of that 20 mile span, especially when I was telling him he missed a turn (he did) but until I have been there, I can not relate what he must have been going through… He did apologize later after he got some sleep and the finish…

    She has a great smile on your face… the man who did it right, and never yelled at the family, but bathed in the wonderful experience…

    But just in case, rent her the movie Big Daddy, and have her master the stick / trip skill and have her waiting in the future for that runner at the final corner, fling the stick and enjoy the women skidding onto the ground… (Kidding – but it would be sweet revenge as long as no one got hurt!)

  4. Dale said

    My family and I went to Moguls resturant for a hot meal and as we walked past the length of the condos out to the road to the van a runner passed us. She/He had just come up the hill from the lower condos. I did’nt think to say anything at the time and they were headed in the right direction. They just would have gone thru the finish line backwards.


  5. Let’s be honest, it’s George Bush’s fault.

    I wonder if it was the same woman who ripped me a new one at Chippewa. If everybody missed it, I would understand. Hmmmmm. Only a few missed it.

    In her defense, it really sucks when you are off course. I was off course there 2 years ago in 50M and came along a hiker. I yelled “where is the race course?”. She was a little scared by my disposition.

    I am of the school who wants to know the course really well for that reason. Zumbro 100K this year was really freaky because nobody knew the course.

    When the brain turns to mush, niceness goes with it.

  6. scott said

    That’s kind of funny and kind of sad, Adam and Matt, that you both have similar stories. Yeah I totally get how spent you get in a 50 miler, my mind was going too. I still say the next day your head should be clear(er) though.

    Dale – who knows what was going on, but thats also the point, you should feel like you have to yell at every headlamp you see just in case!

  7. Katrina said

    You’re lucky I even talked to you on the plane. Sub 4-ers don’t usually associate with amateurs like you. Perhaps one day soon I’ll lower myself a few levels(literally and figuratively) to grace your running club with my presence. Please have my tiara and red carpet at the ready. Thanks.

  8. Ryan said

    This reminds me of a race I was once in. I was a ten-person team running a 100 mile relay. Each leg was 5 miles up and 5 miles back. The race started around 3:30 a.m. I was the second runner, so I planned on arriving to the starting point around 4:30. This was in October in SLC, and it was very chilly with thick-as-soup fog.

    In the predawn hours and fog, I had a hard time finding where the race began (it was in some out-of-the-way spot I was not familiar with.) I finally found it, and noticed our first runner in my headlights as I drove up — just finishing up her leg and heading towards the exchange point. I didn’t have time to warm up or stretch or get oriented as to the race route. I just made it to the starting point as she came in and off I went into the dark fog. I figured the course would be marked.

    It wasn’t. It was so dark and foggy, I couldn’t see anything. I almost ran head-on into other runners who were returning. It got eerily quiet as the runners thinned out, and I found myself seemingly all alone. I didn’t see or hear any other runners going in my direction. Nobody to ask about the layout of the course. I remember passing a flashing yellow construction barricade, and assumed it was guarding a hole in the road. On and on I ran in the dark, seeing and hearing nobody at all.

    Finally, it seemed just too weird that there were no other runners returning past me. I decided to turn around and retrace my steps.

    At the flashing barricade I noticed for the first time that there was a T in the road, and some runners were coming from that direction. So I had missed a turn in the course. I double-timed it up to the turn-around and practically sprinted the rest of the way back. I got to the exchange point just in time to pass off my baton to our third leg runner.

    While everyone else ran a 10 mile leg, I figured mine was actually closer to 11 or more miles, adding in my little extra loop! Including my extra distance, I was kind of proud of my 70 minute time.


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