The things you see …


I have seen some pretty weird and wonderful things when I’ve been out running. As a city runner, when you clock up hundreds of hours on the road you are bound to come across at least one interesting thing each run.

I have seen police pulling a dead body out of the Thames in London. I have seen four old ladies smoking a bong in a car parked by the side of the road. I’ve seen several hospital escapees, people wandering the streets in their surgical gowns and one was still attached to the drip (including the stand).

I’ve seen more drunk people than I could even count. I’ve seen drug addicts using needles in broad daylight. I’ve stepped over enough roadkill to fill a zoo. I’ve seen many snakes, lizards bigger than a dog and I’ve had a possum fall out of a tree and land on me in the middle of the day.

I’ve seen many a cyclist nearly killed by bicycle hating drivers throwing stuff out the car window at them. I’ve seen loads of car accidents. I have seen people do the most insane things on the road and I’ve observed that the worst road rage perpetrators are usually women.

I’ve passed thousands of people on the footpaths and pavements both here and in London. I always say hello when I pass them. Most people say hello back, some give a little runners wave, some don’t. Some people don’t say hello back, or even acknowledge you’ve greeted them. They annoy me more than they should.

But yesterday I had something happen to me that’s never happened before.

It was really early, I’d already been running for an hour or so and I was heading through one of Sydney’s north shore suburbs. A white picket fence suburb where not much ever happens. A nice suburb where people love to bring up small kids. A nice safe vanilla suburb called Turramurra.

I was running past the petrol station and a man with his dog was heading towards me. He was about fifty I’d guess. Looked normal. Anyway as I neared him I said “good morning” like I had to anyone else out walking that I’d seen.

Without even blinking this man looked up, right into my eyes and yelled …

Wait for it …

“P I S S  O F F  Y O U  H E A L T H  F R E A K”.

I shit you not. He really did.

It was not what I’d expected in return for my chirpy good morning gesture. If he’d just said “Piss off” I wouldn’t be writing this blog as people have shouted all sorts of obscenities out of cars at me while I’m running (usually it’s just “show us your tits”. Which is especially amusing when there’s a P Plate on the car, the human contents of which are likely 25 years younger than me so basically it’s like them shouting at their friends mum to show them her boobs).

So I was somewhat shocked. That shock was then followed by the deepest howling laughter I’ve ever heard come from my lungs. The sort of belly aching laughter that’s accompanied by tears and gasping for air.

As I kept running I had a think about it. Health freak. Nobody has ever called me that before. Sure I run a lot but I’ve never been called a health freak. In fact the day beforehand I had eaten nearly half an entire cheesecake and I bloody hate kale more than anything.

Maybe I should have run back and told him?

Those who know me well will find it particularly funny given my outrageous addiction to sugar and my above average consumption of Nutella. A very close friend of mine even calls me ‘The Labrador’ because I eat so much of anything and everything. She swears it’s a term of endearment.

So now I have seen and heard it all.

Plus if I ever write a book I think I have the title sorted …

‘Piss Off You Health Freak … How Nutella Can Help You Run A Marathon: A Guide’
by Stephanie Deck

Has a nice ring to it don’t you think?



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