Regular runners know that Canada’s pathways, roads and sidewalks are a never-ending parade of pace-chasing misfits. Popular run routes are full of those runners – ones who’ve become an archetype in run circles. While we couldn’t cover all of the different running personalities, there were a few particular roadies that stood out from the pack:
The Stats Addict
She pre-maps her run routes online and has the latest Garmin model on her wrist – but sometimes it might be off by a kilometre so she backs it up with an activity tracker, which coincidentally links up to her Garmin as well. She’ll tell you how it changed her whole routine – did you know it can track your stats, monitor your sleep and prompt you to move when you’ve been sedentary for too long? You can also earn badges and compete with friends. All these slick devices link up to the apps on her phone that she carries during her run (for her power run playlist and to track each 5K on RunKeeper and Strava, of course). Oh, did she mention the heart rate monitor that clips right into her bra?
The One Who Can’t Stop Fueling
Never without a run belt or hydration vest, you can always count on this generous guy for a swig of electrolyte-spiked fuel when you hit the wall or to share some gummies while you’re stretching. During your dynamic warm-up, he’s checking his inventory. In his bottles? Plain water, coconut water and lemon-lime sugar-free hydration drink (the chocolate milk is stashed in his car for post-run recovery). Shorts pockets house bars, the performance-enhancing fruit-nut-chocolate-ones, naturally. From some hidden zips he pulls out gels, dissolving tablets and energy balls. Wait. Where the heck did that banana come from? He’s not even wearing a jacket!
The Wall of Flesh
At first you mistook him for a streaker. Coming towards you along the path, his shorts are barely there, his socks are invisible, and his shirt came off after 30 seconds of warm-up walking. If the sun’s out, the guns are too. Any semblance of a top (which was probably small, cropped or had mega-size arm holes that showed off his side bod) now dangles effortlessly from his waistband. His bravado is backed up by a few strategically placed tattoos and a healthy glistening of sweat. You suspect he never closes the blinds at home.
She’s got her race calendar synched up with her work vacation calendar, and a bucket list of her must-do marathons, including the Big Six. Boston is checked off – you might have it guessed by the fact that she’s dressed head to toe in last year’s merch. (Just to be clear, she only wears it for training, never on race days.) She’s superstitious about race rituals, and always shows up at startlines in her lucky shorts, wearing her trusty Timex and fueled by a plate of spaghetti as her pre-race meal. When talk turns to travel, she admits to scheduling her trips around training, start lines and chasing medals to add to her hefty collection.
The Lite Brite
Prepare to be blinded. Between the hi-vis jacket with reflective panels, the headlamp, the snap-on LED bracelets (one on each ankle and one on each wrist) and the turtle lights tied on to her laces that strategically bounce light back to her reflectively patterned pants, this safety conscious strider is intent on being seen. If she wasn’t part of your pace group you’d likely mistake her for a foot-propelled neighbourhood taskforce. And since she is part of your pace group? You’re secretly stoked, because dark December runs feel about 800 lumens brighter with her around.
This dedicated runner never sees sub-zero temperatures, 20cm of fresh snow, shimmering heat waves, or the occasional wind warning as any reason to turn to the treadmill. He’s got complicated and complex layering systems for every potential weather system and adjusts his run time based on the hourly forecast. He also speaks fluent meteorologist, knows all the cold fronts and where they’re coming from, and keeps his slip-on spikes handy in case of icy patches. Falling into the global pack known as “streak runners” (people who run every single day, no matter what), this runner lives by the credo, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear.”
The Whole Dang Family
Never mind that readying the run stroller for an outing is a production in itself, this team has the prep routine down to a science – and that’s just the start of their workout. With tires filled, first aid kit stashed, diapers, bottles, snacks and doggy bags on hand, they’re off in a flurry of running shoes and wheels. The toddler should be sleeping soundly for the next 30 minutes (hopefully), so it’s prime time for fresh air. Taking turns pushing the stroller, running the dog and keeping an eye on their kiddo riding a bike beside them, they operate like a well-tuned relay team – just with a few more goldfish crackers and juice boxes.
Illustrations by Suharu Ogawa.
Want to get road running? Start with shoes.