…and I don’t mean “smoking runner” as in “smoking-hot-bod runner.” I literally mean, the runner who smokes.
I will just come out and say it, runners who smoke gross me out. Completely.
Okay, okay…before you go getting all preachy and telling me I am judging my fellow runners, I will admit that I am a former smoker…and it STILL grosses me out.
Before the Rock N Roll Mardi Gras Marathon this year, there were runners standing in the corral…smoking. Literally, the gun went off for their wave to start, they threw down the cigarette butt, squashed it out with their fancy running shoes, and started running…a marathon. How is this? Lord, help me…training in the winter air (with asthma, no less) is hard enough on my body. I can not even imagine how I would feel smoking a cigarette right before a marathon.
At the end of my triathlon this past weekend, I saw a handful of family members and friends standing around waiting for their racers…smoking. I just found it odd. Even odder, I even saw one or two race participants light up themselves!
Most of us, at some point, have spent some time around a person who smokes. Even if they didn’t just get finished smoking a cigarette, you can usually still smell it on him/her…especially a hard-core smoker. While I have not experienced running near a runner who smokes (they are usually *still* faster than me), I can imagine the smell would make me uncomfortable…probably even nauseous.
When I first started running, back when I was just starting to get into 5k races, I still smoked. Granted, I had cut back to only a few cigarettes per day, but still, I was a smoker. I can remember mornings of going out to races and then coming home, stepping out on my balcony, and lighting up a cigarette…like it was no big deal. I could never do that now, not that I would even want to. Now, coming into the finish of a race, if I even smell a cigarette in the vicinity, I think, “Who in the WORLD would be smoking around this many people who care about health and physical activity??”
In general, I not only think the combination of running and smoking is gross, but physiologically speaking, how is it that runners who smoke can can actually do that? Don’t they feel their lungs, which are pretty vital in a sport like running, getting tight??
Am I jealous that they get to continue on with their vice and *still* perform better than me?
I know that this is a free country and people can just about do whatever they want, but should races consider other runners and make the events, corrals, and finish line festivals smoke-free areas? What if the race/event was benefiting a cancer charity or organization? (I have seen this too!)
Wouldn’t a runner who smokes (even if they already do well in an event) want to quit smoking, knowing that the odds of doing so would probably increase their performance exponentially?
How does the “running smoker” fit in to the stereotype that runners/triathletes are generally people concerned with healthy, fitness, clean eating, training, etc.?
If a lady feels bold enough to lecture me about running while pregnant, should someone not lecture these runners about the dangers and risks associated with smoking?
What do YOU think about runners who smoke? How do you feel about them? How do you feel when people smoke around you at races and events?