Encouragement or patronising?


This comment was shared on a group I am part of – a picture of the text taken from a book or magazine (not sure which, it didn’t say) and the discussion which ensued was very interesting and made me think.

If you pass people do you offer words of encouragement?

Do you like to receive words when you are passed?

Or do you agree with the comment and think that it is patronising?

One comment that I liked was that ‘you can’t judge a runner by how they’re running at any one moment’ as it is so true.  They might be injured, they might be just taking it easy, or they just might be slower than you.  What I have learnt is that speed does not necessarily equal experience, or vice versa.  There are some runners who are quite a bit slower than I am but whom are far more accomplished runners.

I think that it follows the train of thought that many of us have where we beat ourselves up because we aren’t fast, because we are too slow; where we think that those that run faster are therefore better than us.

When I pass people I do like to speak, encourage, or share the experience in some way.  Not so much maybe in races, but definitely at parkrun and on social runs.  I also like it when others do the same to me.  To me it is as much about making a connection with another person, than it is the actual words spoken.  Does it not make it a more pleasant parkrun if others speak?

We’ve actually made friends just by doing this.  As a regular at parkrun you tend to pass / be passed by the same people at a similar point on the course week in week out.  Do you ignore them, or do you say morning?  Are they running well that day – tell them!

As someone who often feels socially awkward, this kind of interaction and inclusiveness has been a welcome part of running for me.

What do you think?


4 thoughts on “Encouragement or patronising?

Add yours

  1. I’ve been on the receiving end of both encouraging and patronising comments. The encouraging comments were made my members of my running club who had waited near the finish of a local run. They could see I was struggling to run up the final hill, ran alongside me and shouted “Keep going Emma” several times as I staggered towards the finish line. They were supportive rather than patronising. I won’t share the patronising comment but it was made by a middle-of-the-pack male runner. I’ve always found the fastest club runners are really supportive, it’s the not quite so fast runners who aren’t.


    1. Sad to hear that you’ve been on the receiving end of patronising comments – I really can’t work out why people feel the need to do that.

      Great that you’ve found a supportive club though – that has made all the difference for me 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: