5 Dirty Little Runner Secrets

Runners are gross. If you are one, you already know this. And if you aren’t, then I’m about to spill some dirty little runner secrets. Runners don’t just have strong legs and an appetite for pain, they also have the uncanny ability to be disgusting, mainly out of necessity. So without further ado, here are 5 downright nasty secrets of runners.

1. They pee their pants.

You try holding it when you’re running balls to the wall in the middle of a race. Or even on just a casual jaunt around your ‘hood. I’ll speak from personal experience that when you’re holding it on the run, whether it’s because you’re trying to hit certain paces, win the race, or even because you’re nowhere near a bathroom (or acceptable tree), roughly 50% of the time you don’t make it. That’s why they make running shorts out of absorbent material, right?

2. The world is their bathroom (in other words, they shit in the woods).

In order to avoid #1, or if they aren’t holding pee and it’s something else entirely, runners will find any acceptable spot to do their business. And by acceptable, I mean any tree that even marginally hides them, or large neighborhood signs, or not-so-large rocks, or utility sheds just to name a few. And unless there’s some leaves around, they often don’t wipe. Chances are if you live along a popular running rail trail or path, you’ve got runner poo lurking in your yard. Sorry you had to find out this way.

3. Their feet would make even the most seasoned, seen-it all pedicurist cry.

When you’re logging miles and miles on your feet, it’s going to show. Runners are usually missing at least one toenail, or have a few black ones. Their heels are dry, cracked and downright cringe-inducing. And their toes? Think blister upon blister upon blister. Sandals are not their friend.

4. Their personal hygiene leaves something to be desired.

Busy runners have to cram in a run when they can, and sometimes, all they have time for is the run, so they have to forego the all-important post-run shower. Most runners have perfected the art of taking a bird-bath after a run, freshening up the important areas with baby wipes or wet paper towels. And then they go back to work, or off to run errands or out to a fancy dinner (yeah, I’ve done it) still slightly stinky, with salt-crusted hair and smelly feet. And then sometimes, they get home after said post-run event and are so tired, they sink into their bed still stank-nasty and sweat-crusted and just plain greasy. In short, they smell. And they wouldn’t have it any other way.

5. They’re chafed, in the most delicate places.

Sometimes, no amount of Body Glide can keep a runner from getting chafed. Yeah, that’s right, a runner literally gets rubbed raw from running. Some runners get dreaded chafing on their inner thighs, some on their armpits, and some unlucky souls even get it on their nipples. Yeah, that’s right. Think about how great that has to feel. I’ve even heard of under-butt chafe. If it’s a part of the runner’s body, it can be chafed. So all those fit, mile-hungry hobby joggers you know are secretly suffering from embarrassing and uncomfortable sores in areas where the sun don’t shine.

Non-runners, I hope I haven’t scared you away from the joys of running. Because everything listed above is totally worth the satisfaction of achieving a PR, or hitting your mileage goals or finishing a marathon. That’s why we keep coming back for more. And if you have runner friends, cut them some slack. They may stink and poop behind trees, but they’re still cool people. Just don’t stand to close to them, or look at their feet, or judge them for peeing their pants.

Runners, any dirty little secrets I’ve missed?


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