A Letter to Male Runners

Dear Male Runner,

We have a lot in common, you and I. We both know what it is like to feel proud when crossing a marathon finish line for the first time. We know the struggle of a pre-dawn alarm clock on a Saturday morning. We know the thrill of a fast lap around the track, and the camaraderie of a weeknight group run.

However, our running experiences differ, too. I’ll never know the freedom of tossing on my shoes for an impromptu run without first telling someone where I’m going, and when I’ll be home. I’ll never know what it feels like to run late at night, or early in the morning, and feel completely safe in the dark. I’ll never hear a twig crack behind me and ignore it.

You’ll miss out on some unique running experiences as well. You’ll never know what it is like to get six car-horn honks on a three-mile run. You’ll never have to decide where to comfortably put your pink can of pepper spray. (It chafes between your breasts, but it’s inaccessible in a zipped pocket.) You’ll never get called horrible names when you ignore the men on the sidewalk, or in cars, who are insulted you don’t smile at their compliments, a sampling of which might include:

  • Nice ass
  • I’d fuck that
  • Wanna get in my car?

When you choose which pair of shorts to buy at the running store, you’ll probably think about colors and chafing issues. I understand, because I think of that, too. Except I’m also thinking about whether the length of the shorts says anything about me. Too short, and I deserve to get yelled at from passersby. Too long, and I’m a prude. Shirtless running? I can only imagine the joy. I cover up my bright, beautiful sports bras all too often because I don’t want to egg on the whoops and shouts and yells.

Running is my joy, and it is also yours. Enjoy it, but know that we see the world of running through very different lenses.


A Female Runner

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