Jokes on Marathons

Following is a collection of humorous stories, anecdotes, one-liners and jokes on marathons, running, jogging and ultra-marathons, which we’re sure you will find amusing. To read famous quotes on marathons click here
Click on the following links to read the jokes on marathons below or simply scroll down.

The Joy of Marathons
1. For every mile you run, you add one minute to your life. This enables you, at the age of 85, to spend an additional five months in a nursing home at $5,000/month.

2. The only reason I took up running was to hear heavy breathing again.

3. I joined a health club last year, spending $400 in the process. I haven’t lost a pound. Apparently you have to show up.
4. I have to exercise early in the morning, before my brain figures out what I’m doing.
5. I like long walks, especially when people who annoy me take them.
6. The advantage to exercising every day is that you die healthier.
7. I have flabby thighs but fortunately my stomach covers them.
8. If you are going to take up cross-country skiing, it helps to start with a small country.
9. I don’t jog; it makes me spill my milk shake.
10. Running makes the ice jump right out of my glass.

11. Actually, I don’t exercise at all. If we were meant to touch our toes, we would have them farther up on our body.

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Top 10 Reasons to Run Ultra marathons:
10. No matter the metric — per mile, per minute (or per feet climbed) — ultras are more cost-effective than 10Ks or marathons.
9. You get to accumulate belt buckles to keep your pants from falling down.
8. You get your ratio of travel time to race time well below one.
7. You get your ratio of toenails to toes also below one.
6. You learn to think of an eight-minute mile as a “sprint”.
5. You experience God’s creation in a unique and wonderful way: Pre-dawn starts! Mountain tops! Point-to-point trails!
4. Beer and pizza is a traditional pre-race meal.
3. Be part of a sport that will never, ever, be glamorous.
2. Learn that, if you’re patient and willing to work hard, there isn’t really much that’s impossible.
… and the number one reason to run ultras:
1. Coffee and donuts at the start line!
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My doctor recently told me that jogging could add years to my life. I think he was right. I feel ten years older already. MILTON BERLE
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David Letterman: New York City Marathon

“I pulled a hamstring during the New York City Marathon,” David Letterman once reported. “An hour into the race, I jumped off the couch…”

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Marathon Walker

In June 2003, Lloyd Scott set a new world record for the slowest marathon time by finishing the Edinburgh Marathon in six days, four hours, 30 minutes and 56 seconds – in a 130lb deep-sea diving suit. “It was a fantastic finish at the stadium,” Scott recalled. “Everyone was on their feet clapping and we had a piper. It was a wonderful reception. I’m still on a bit of a high and I will probably still be on one tomorrow when I realise I don’t have to get the suit on. Now I’m having a dram of whisky to celebrate.” In 2002, Scott, who typically walked about nine hours each day, covering half a mile per hour, took only five days to complete the London and New York marathons, but set a record in 2003 because he was hit by food poisoning. “I had to keep dashing to the loo [toilet],” he explained, “and on the Royal Yacht Britannia there was a problem trying to get the suit off in time to get to the toilet…”

[Among Scott’s subsequent feats; Completing an underwater marathon walk of the full length of Loch Ness wearing diving equipment and running the Edinburgh marathon in a suit of medieval armour.]

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Michael Johnson, the Olympic gold medal runner, was on his way to a club with some friends. At the door, the bouncer turned to him and said: “Sorry, mate, you can’t come in here – no denim”. Michael was quite annoyed at this and retorted: “Don’t you know who I am? I’m Michael Johnson”. “Then it won’t take you long to run home and change, will it?” replied the bouncer.

Paula Radcliffe: Oatso Simple

At the 2004 summer Olympics in Athens, Paula Radcliffe failed to finish both the 10,000 meter event and the marathon. Shortly thereafter, Quaker Oats dropped her from its advertising campaign for Oatso Simple porridge and cancelled plans to film an ad showing her winning a marathon after eating the cereal, explaining that she was no longer eligible to represent the product. Oatso Simple’s slogan? “It helps you go the distance!”

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Two hikers on a trail came around the bend to find an enormous brown bear about 75 yards up the trail. The bear spies them and begins running toward them at a full gallop. One hiker drops his backpack, sits down, throws off his boots, and starts lacing up a pair of running shoes. The other hiker says: “What are you doing? You will never outrun that bear!”. The first hiker replies: “I don’t have to outrun the bear…”. Back to top

Eight Essential Jogging Tips

Trouble is, when a lot of you otherwise sensible readers see how much verve is to be had while jogging, you are going to try jogging yourself. So we also feel it is essential that you bear in mind the “Eight essential tips for the beginner”:

1. Loosen up first. The ideal method is to throw back four fingers of scotch. If the urge to jog persists, double the loosening exercise.

2. Check your resting pulse. If you can’t find your pulse, check the pulse of a loved one. This is sometimes called “playing doctor” and, with any luck, will take your mind completely off running.

3. Never run if you are a short person. Short persons are built too close to automobile exhaust pipes. The noxious fumes get into their brains and make them crazy and they try to bite buses, which can be pretty dicey, especially if the bus has not stopped.

4. Always wear – a) a brassier, and b) a jockstrap. (Strike out where inapplicable). The worst jogging injuries result from flopping. Never wear both at once. At least not in public.

5. Children often taunt passing joggers. After a while, you will become accustomed to this and even grow to enjoy it, especially if you carry a golf putter and rap taunting children smartly across the back of the head with it.

6. Dogs can be a threat. If a huge, vicious dog charges you and lunges at your throat, say “There, boy down!”. If that doesn’t work, show him your membership card from the Humane Society.

7. Set your own pace. If you black out after five minutes, you are probably running too fast. If workman from the city come by and paint you green, you may be running too slow.

8. After jogging, check your pulse rate again. This time if you can’t find it, you are quite possibly dead. Look at it this way: your corpse is sure in great shape.

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Fred Lorz: Official Time?

“Fred Lorz was the first competitor to cross the finish line [at the end of the marathon at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis]. He was greeted with cheers from the American crowd and Alice Roosevelt, daughter of Pres. Theodore Roosevelt, placed a laurel wreath on his head. Shortly thereafter Lorz admitted the truth. Suffering from cramps early in the race, he hopped into an official’s car at the nine-mile mark and rode the next 11 miles of the race. He said he decided to run into the stadium and break the winner’s tape as a joke.”

[Lorz was promptly suspended from amateur competition (though he was later re-instated and won the Boston Marathon in 1905). The “real” winner in 1904, Thomas Hicks, had to be helped across the finish line after 3 hours, 28 minutes and 53 seconds — the worst marathon time in Olympic history. Indeed, so meager was the competition that Cuban postman Felix Carvajal ran the race in street clothes, stopped to shake hands with fans, visited an orchard, got sick from eating rotten apples – and still finished fourth!]

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Marathoner Loses by a Mustache

“‘Marathoner Loses by a Mustache.’ So read the headline of a recent Associated Press story. It appeared that Abbes Tehami of Algeria was an easy winner of the Brussels Marathon — until someone wondered where his mustache had gone! “Checking eyewitness accounts, it quickly became evident that the mustache belonged to Tehami’s coach, Bensalem Hamiani. Hamiani had run the first seven-and-a-half miles of the race for Tehami, then dropped out of the pack and disappeared into the woods to pass race number 62 on to his pupil. “‘They looked about the same,’ race organizers said. ‘Only one had a mustache.’ It’s expected that the two will never again be allowed to run in Belgium.”

[Trivia: Although the 2003 Washington (DC) marathon was cancelled on security grounds, about 500 of the 6,800 runners who had registered still completed the course. The only catch? They were forced to stop for red traffic lights along the route.]

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“I felt great and I didn’t barf or anything.” — Anonymous woman finisher at the 1994 Bloomsday Run

They only come out at night…

I was out driving just the other day, at around 6:30 pm. And I was amazed at the transformation that the quiet streets of the city undergo at this time. For this is the time that belongs to one group of people; too early for the boy racers and streetwalkers, yet too late for the workers and commuters. No, this is the (excuse the cliché) twilight zone, which belongs to the joggers. They come out in hordes, young, old, fit, fat, tall, thin, all sorts. It is uncanny. I was so stunned by this phenomenon that started a detailed study of these people trying to sort out who they are, and I think I finally categorised them all.

Equipment Boy – Almost (yet not always) male, Equipment Boy runs slowly and only for short distances. He really really wants to become a stud, and thinks his chances getting fit will be improved if he wears spandex shorts, a heart monitor, new trainers a sweat band and sports a new drink bottle. His chances of actually achieving his goal are as realistic as expecting that beer in the fridge with your name on it to not be drunk by your flatmate.

Power Walker – This is the style most often adopted by the yuppies and other young professionals. It’s not strictly jogging, it deserves a mention. Most often found at parks and central city.

Scruffy Jogger – These joggers stick usually to back streets and suburban areas. Without any of the money of Equipment Boy, Scruffy Jogger also longs to become fit. He thinks that by appearing in the most hideous and ragged clothes he will scare off the calories. Scruffy Jogger doesn’t as much “run” as “shuffle” along giving him the appearance of the ill-dressed and shambley zombies from a B-grade horror film.

Speed Jogger – This breed doesn’t as much “jog” as “sprint”. These joggers rarely run very far, and while they look quite impressive, there is a serious lack of forethought and Speed Jogger almost always overrates his abilities, and can often morph into either Equipment Boy or Scruffy Jogger depending of what Speed Jogger is wearing.

Oops Jogger – This breed of jogger is the unintended runner, often found in inappropriate clothes; jeans, suit etc. They are often seen around town and, if you know what you’re looking for (despite their best efforts, an Oops Jogger is quite easy to spot in a meeting, they will usually arrive “just” in time, and a tad out of breath). They are also quite commonly found on their way to florists, if so you can invariably start a conversation with “Birthday or girlfriend?” (if the answer ever comes back “Both” be warned, there will be a small nuclear explosion in the city soon – start digging).

Social Jogger – Found in packs, social jogger can range in speed and fitness levels. Usually the friendliest of all jogger sub-species a kindly word or a nod is all you need to illicit a “G’day mate” or “Nice evening for it” from a Social Jogger.

Sometimes too there are mixed breed species of jogger. These are often the most dangerous of all joggers, and if identified, should be avoided at all costs. The worst combinations that can occur are invariably the “Opps Power Walker” (a vicious breed devoid of all manners and social graces they will bustle, barge and bump their way through crowds and nothing will stop them short of their goal) but they still pale compared to… The absolute worst inbred jogger however (and God help you if you meet one) is a “Social Equipment Boy” that has been separated from the pack. This jogger will haunt you for weeks if you are stupid enough to lead him to your home, and he will attempt to assimilate you into his social mix by four hour demonstrations of how great his gear is, interjected occasionally with comments about the ever increasing cost of his gear and how wonderful his life is now he jogs.

Warning – Social Equipment Boy is contagious, and if you feel yourself slipping into his cult, or see any of your friends doing so, you must act quickly, only a severe dose of fish’n’chips followed by a long night in watching violent sports you don’t even understand can halt the onset of this disease.

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Los Angeles Marathon

In his capacity as grand instigator and supreme leader of the Los Angeles Cacophony Society, “Reverend Al” Ridenour was famed for his practical jokes. His presence at the Los Angeles marathon, however, was not universally appreciated. Having unfurled a “Just Quit” banner at the 22-mile mark of the 26.2 mile course, the merry pranksters proceeded to entice tired runners to join the dark side with offers of doughnuts, beer, cigarettes and beef jerky!

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Last year I entered the “New York City marathon”. I finished last. It was embarrassing. And the guy who was in front of me, second to last, was making fun of me. He said, “Hey buddy, how does it feel to be last?”. I replied: “Do you want to know?” and I dropped out. Back to top

You know you’re an Ultrarunner if:

1. Your wife tries to introduce you to your three children and you reply “Three?”

2. You spend more time in the drug section than the food section of the local market.

3. You wonder why they don’t make all running socks a dusty brown color.

4. You have more dirt on your shoes than in your garden.

5. You think that flagel and ibutrophin belong on the breakfast table.

6. You get more phone calls at 5:00 AM than at 5:00 PM.

7. You don’t recognize your friends with their clothes on.

8. You have more buckles than belts.

9. You postpone your wedding because it will interfere with your training.

10. You keep mistaking your boss for Norm Klein.

11. 6am is sleeping in.

12. Your feet look better without toenails.

13. Your idea of a fun date is a 30-mile training run.

14. You’re tempted to look for a bush when there’s a long line for the public restroom.

15. You don’t think twice about eating food you’ve picked up off the floor.

16. You can expound on the virtues of eating salt.

17. You develop an unnatural fear of mountain lions.

18. When you wake up without the alarm at 4AM, pop outa bed and think “lets hit the trails together”.

19. When you can recite the protein grams by heart of each energy bar.

20. You don’t even LOOK for the porto-sans anymore.

21. Your ideal way to celebrate your birthday is to run at least your age in miles with some fellow crazies.

22. Your ideal way to celebrate the new year is to run as far as you can afford to with some fellow crazies.

23. Your ideal way to have fun is to run as far as you can afford to with some fellow crazies.

24. You know the location of every 7-11, public restroom, and water fountain within a 25-mile radius of your house.

25. You run marathons for speedwork.

26. You have more fanny packs and water bottles and flashlights than Imelda Marcos has shoes.

27. You visit a national park with your family and notice a thirty-mile trail connecting where you are with the place your family wants to visit next, which is a 100-mile drive away, and you think “Hmmmm”.

28. Someone asks you how long your training run is going to be and you answer “seven or eight … hours”.

29. People at work think you’re in a whole lot better shape than you think you are.

30. You actually are in a whole lot better shape than you think you are.

31. Your weekend runs are limited by how much time you have, not by how far you can run.

32. You always have at least one black toenail.

33. You buy economy-sized jars of Vaseline on a regular basis.

34. You tried hashing, but felt the trails were too short and easy.

35. You think of pavement as a necessary evil that connects trails.

36. You’re read this and relating to some of it.

37. You rotate your running shoes more often than you rotate your tires.

38. Your friends recognize you better dressed in shorts than in long pants.

39. You really envied Tom Hanks’ long run as Forest Gump.

40. You carry money around in a ziplock bag because store clerks complained that your money’s usually too sweaty.

41. Any time a plain old runner talks about her aches and pains, you can sympathize because you’ve already had that at least once.

42. You put more miles on your feet than on your rental car over the weekend.

43. You don’t need to paint your toenails; they’re already different colors.

44. You start planning the family vacation around races and vice-versa.

45. You say “Only a 100K to go.”

46. When you start considering your next vacation on the merits of its ultras

47. You spend you entire paycheck on running gear, ultrabars, and entry fees.

48. You become a quasi-expert on different detergents so as to not “hurt” your tee shirts.

49. You leave work early to hit the trails

50. You wear t-shirts based on if you’ve had good work outs when you’ve worn them before.

51. Have a trail shoe collection that would make Imelda Marcos envious.

52. Running trail is better then sex(even if you don’t get any).

53. You walk up the stairs and run down them.

54. Peeing in the toilet seems unreal.

55. You start wearing running clothes to work so that you’re all prepared.

56. Vasoline isn’t just for fun anymore.

57. You know you’re an ultrarunner when the start of a marathon feels like a 5K and you’re wondering “Why is everyone in such a rush? Where the ##@@**!! is the fire?”

58. You’re an ultrarunner (and this is an absolute requirement, which I feel should be included in all race entry forms) if as an infant you were dropped on your head.

59. You’re an ultrarunner if nobody recognizes your power T’s. Met a guy at the market the other day who was wearing an American River 50 T. So was I. I gave him a hearty, “Ta-da.” He said, “Oh yeah, I tell people we were all aquitted and the charges were dropped.”

60. You know you’re an ultrarunner when you sign up for a 10K and you strap on your fanny pack because you never know where the aid stations are. You bring your own drinks. You bring potatoes and salt. You start fast and a six year old passes you. You are the only one walking the up hills. You run it a second time because its not far enough to call a training run. You are the only one around who is eyeing the bushes THAT way. You punch the lap button on your watch instead of the stop button at the finish.

61. When “NEXT GAS 36 MILES” signs start sounding like tempting runs.

62. Your pedicure kit includes a pair of pliers.

63. The number of toes and toenails you have is not equal.

64. You drink from a water bottle at the dinner table.

65. You consider the mold and mildew in your bottles extra electrolytes.

66. You just found out Poison and Oak are words by themselves.

67. You see a 1 quart water bottle colored like an Advil bottle, and don’t realize that it’s not in fact an Advil bottle.

68. You know you’re married to an ultrarunner when Valentine’s gifts come from Ultrafit.

69. You know you’re married to an ultrarunner when she helps you up and says, “Come on, suck it up, keep moving!” and you know she means it in love.

70. You know you’re an ultrarunner when a prospective employer asks for a photograph and all you have is race photos.

71. You know you’re an ultrarunner when the races you enter end in a different area code and pass through several different Zip codes enroute.

72. You know you’re an ultrarunner when your crew tries to keep you motivated by saying, “You’re in second place and only 6 hours behind”.

73. You know you’re an ultrarunner when you go to your 8:00 a.m. college geology class and you can use the salt crystals, still caked on your glasses frames from your early morning run, in your talk on the category of sedimentary materials called evaporates.

74. You know you’re an ultrarunner when, on the night of a bad thunderstorm and downpour, you ring for a cab, and your announcement that this is the *first time* you’re not getting home under your own steam causes a stunned silence in the office.

75. You know your an ultrarunner when you actually sit down and read all of the postings about, “You know your an ultrarunner when…” and can laugh and relate to all of the comments.

76. You know you’re an ultrarunner when you don’t finish on the same day as the winner.

77. You know you’re an ultrarunner when people praise you to the high heavens for being able to finish a marathon, and you feel insulted.

78. You know you’re an ultrarunner after you post your third ULTRA message about relative 100 miler difficulty.

79. You know you’re an ultrarunner when our dogs can drink out of water bottles.

80. You know you’re an ultrarunner when you meet the opposite sex you see a possible crew, a possible pacer, a possible search and rescue team, a possible race director, a possible source of race entry fees.

81. You know you’re an ultra runner when you can really identify with those scenes at night in the woods in The Blair Witch Project.

82. I knew I was an Ultranrunner when my wife asked me the morning after my first 50 miler if I was still planning on that 100K in five weeks, I smiled and said “Sure!”

83. If so many places on your body hurt you can’t figure out which one hurts more, so you ignore them all and do another 50K, and then you feel better!

84. You strap on your water bottles and walk the hills . . . . . . in a 5K race and consider that your 10 minute pace is a blistering pace.

85. You know you’re an ultrarunner when you do a triathlon and it is your RUN time that is slower than the years when you specialized in triathlon.

86. You are told *not* to run another marathon during the next few months (because that would be bad for your health), and you really follow that advice – by immediately sending off the entry form for your next 50/100 miler.

87. You know you are an ultrarunner when somebody asks about the distance of an upcoming race and you, without thinking, say, “Oh, it’s just a 50K.” …forgetting that for most people, a 5K is a heck of an accomplishment.

88. When running a marathon and at mile 20 say to yourself, “Wow, only 6 more miles left, this is such a great training run!” NB: saying it aloud can make one seem arrogant, beware!

89. Everything in your life, everything, is organized in different sized zip-loc bags.

90. You know you are an ultrarunner when you go for an easy 2 hour run in the middle of a Hurricane and think it is fun to get wet, muddy and run through the rivers that were once trails.

91. You know you are an ultrarunner when you get to the 81 mile point of a 100 miler and say to yourself, “Wow, only 19 miles left!”

92. You know you’re an ultra runner when no one believes you when you say “never again”.

93. You try to tie double knots in your Oxfords.

94. You pass a swamp towards the end of a run and think ‘How bad could it be?”

95. You know you’re an ultrarunner if your wife/girlfriend/significant other asks you if you want to have sex on any particular night and you respond with: “sorry, I don’t have time, I have to go running” or “sorry, I’m too tired, I just went running” or “sorry, I would rather go read all my messages from the ultra-list”

96. You’re embarrassed that you’ve only done 50K’s.

97. When livestock salt blocks look good after a run.

98. You refer to certain 100 mile races as “low-key.”

99. You number your running shoes to distinguish old from new, since they all look dirty.

100. Prior to running a difficult race, you check to see if local hospitals and urgent care centers are in your PPO.

101. The only time major household projects get done is in a taper or race recovery.

102. You know you are an ultra parent if; Your 6 year old knows the difference between a 100k and 100 miler. Whenever you announce an exciting family vacation, the first question is “Where is the race?”

103. You know you are an ultraWOMAN if… You have more fanny packs than purses. You have the complete collection of every “long lasting” lip color ever made. You have a walk-in closet dedicated to running apparel. You have a permanent combination scar/tan in the outline of a jogbra.

104. You know you’re an ultrarunner when you need to ask for a ride from a friend because you drive a stick shift.

105. You call a 50-mile race “just another training run”.

106. You think a 100-mile race is easier than a 50 miler because you don’t have to go out as fast.

107. You say, “Taper? Who’s got time to taper? I have a race coming up this weekend.”

108. You have to rent a car to drive to a major event because you and your pacer own stick shits and neither will be able to drive them on the return trip.

109. You’re tapering/recovering, and you’d rather drive 50 miles to watch Ann Trason’s heavenly running style for 20 seconds than the Super Bowl.

110. You use your local 5 and 10km’s for “speed work.”

111. On a long drive you see the road signs listing various mileages to different places and think of how long it would take to get there on foot rather than by the car your driving.

112. You’ve started a race in the dark, run all day, and finished in the dark (if you’re lucky).

113. Your non-Ultrarunning running friends look at you strange when you tell them that 10:00/Mile is a fast pace for a 100 mile race (not to mention most ultras).

 114. You don’t hesitate to lie down in the trail (anywhere) when you are falling asleep on your feet during the early morning hours on the second day of a 100 miler; and it feels so comfortable.

115. You go to bite into a hamburger at the finish line bar-b-q and get a cramp in your jaw.

116. You know your an ultra runner when you meet someone of the opposite sex on the trail of a 100 and all of conversation is about what color is your urine, can you drink and were you able to dump?

117. You know you’re and ultra runner when a girl changes her tank and her bra in front of you and all you do is take another drink of water, look at your watch, get up and tell your pacer “Let’s hit the trail.”

118. When you try to determine which 100 mile race is more difficult.

119. You know you are an ultra runner when you read these posts and reply, “So, what’s your point?”

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“Start slowly, then taper off.” — Walt Stack, racing advice

Robert A. Gibb?

Although women were officially banned from competing in the Boston Mararhon until 1972, San Diego’s Roberta Gibb Bingay successfully completed the run in 1966. How? She wore a hooded sweatshirt to disguise her gender.

[Bingay thereby entered the record books with an unofficial time of ~3 hours 20 minutes.]

Why does someone who runs marathons make a good student ?

Because education pays off in the long run !

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Boston Marathon

Among the entrants in the 1980 Boston Marathon was a runner named Rosie Ruiz. She was named the winner and might have retained her crown – had she not been caught entering the race one mile from the finish line.

[Though Jacqueline Gareau was declared the winner eight days later, Ruiz refused to return her medal.]

We work out too much. We waste time. A friend of mine runs marathons. He always talks about this “Runner’s high”. But he has to go twenty-six miles for it. That’s why I smoke and drink. I get the same feeling from a flight of stairs. Back to top


“When I [Australian Olympian Rob de Castella] was about 14 or 15, and running in a pretty muddy cross country race, one of my shoes stuck in the mud and came off. Boy, was I wild. To think that I had trained hard for this race and didn’t do up my shoelace tightly enough! I really got aggressive with myself, and I found myself starting to pass a lot of runners. As it turned out, I improved something like twenty places in that one race. But I never did get my shoe back.”

A runner asks his wife: “What do you love most about me? My tremendous athletic ability or my superior intellect?”. “What I love most about you” – responded the man’s wife – “is your enormous sense of humor”.

A school teacher asked a student, “John, will you please conjugate the verb ‘to go’ for the class?”. The kid began, “I go… um… you go… ehmm… he goes…”. “How about a little faster?”, asks the teacher. And the kid, “Sure! I run, you run, she runs…” Back to top

Deciding to take up jogging, the man was astounded by the wide selection of jogging shoes available at the local sports shoe store. While trying on a basic pair of jogging shoe, he noticed a minor feature and asked the clerk: “What is this little pocket thing here on the side for?”. And the clerk: “Oh, that’s to carry spare change so you can call your wife to come pick you up when you’ve jogged too far”.

One man’s hobby was running, he spent all his weekends on the park trails, paying no attention to weather. One Sunday, early in the morning, he went to the park as usual. It was still dark, cold and raining, so he decided to return back to his house. He came in, went to his bedroom, undressed and laid near his wife. “What terrible weather today honey,” he said to her. “Yes” she replied “but my idiot husband still went running!”

P. Diddy: Sean John Tracksuit

“Hip hop promoter Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs ran the New York marathon on Sunday in 4 hours and 15 minutes,” Conan O’Brien announced in early November 2003. “Experts say that this is the first time in history a rapper has worn a tracksuit for a reason.”

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Khalid Khannouchi: Chicago Marathon

“Khalid Khannouchi returned in 1999 to face Moses Tanui, a runner so tough he won a 10,000-meter silver medal after one of his shoes fell off. With a fast-paced field, pundits were predicting a world record. Khannouchi stayed close until the 17th mile, when Tanui took off. ‘I was about to go after him,’ Khannouchi said, ‘but I thought, Why is he going now? Maybe he’s feeling too good.’

“Khannouchi held back while Tanui charged ahead, forging a one-minute lead. With five miles to go, Khannouchi broke from the pack. No one else followed. Pushing too hard could cost you a runners-up purse. Khannouchi kept closing. With a mile to go, Tanui paused for a drink to fortify himself for the finish. It was the sensible thing to do. As he raised the cup to his lips, Khannouchi blazed by him, hitting the tape in 2:05:42. In his third marathon ever, he had lowered the world record by 23 seconds.”

[Kenya’s Paul Tergat made the same mistake in the 2002 London marathon. After blazing past Ethiopia’s Haile Gebrselassie during the 23rd mile, he held to convention and stopped for a last sip of water. As soon as he did, Khannouchi gave everything he had to catch up. With a mile to go, the runners traded the lead every few steps, until Tergat finally faded. Khannouchi hit the tape in 2:05:38. He took three strides, dropped to his knees, and kissed the ground.]

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Sir Ranulph Fiennes: Iron Moron?

The great explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes once embarked upon a crazy endurance test, running seven marathons in seven continents in seven days – while recovering from a massive heart attack.

[Trivia: Even in the Arctic, Sir Ranulph Fiennes slept with the window open. His Jack Russell, Bothie, became the first dog ever to travel to both the North and South Poles.]

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Matt Damon: Feeling Old

One Thanksgiving Day morning, Matt Damon was roused from bed by his triathlete brother at 5:30 a.m. to run a 5-kilometer road race.

“It was kind of an eye-opening thing,” he recalled. “I started to feel old for the first time when I’m about two thirds of the way through a 5k and I’m going like, ‘I’m working it. I’m doing good,’ and look over and these two 8-year-olds passed me. They’re like talking to each other, not even trying…”

[“The worst thing was, by the time I finished the race, some camera crews had shown up so I come blasting across the finish line, because I’m trying to catch these 8-year-old brats, and there are these Channel 4 News types: ‘Hey you just ran a 5k – how do you feel?’ And now I gotta try to be all Jason Bourne about it and not cry, which is what I want to do.”]

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A man had been driving all night and by morning was still far from his destination. He decided to stop at the next city he came to, and park somewhere quiet so he could get an hour or two of sleep. As luck would have it, the quiet place he chose happened to be on one of the city’s major jogging routes. No sooner had he settled back to snooze when there came a knocking on his window. He looked out and saw a jogger running in place. “Yes?”. “Excuse me, sir”, the jogger said, “do you have the time?”. The man looked at the car clock and answered, “8:15”. The jogger said thanks and left. The man settled back again, and was just dozing off when there was another knock on the window and another jogger. “Excuse me, sir, do you have the time?”. “8:25!”. The jogger said thanks and left. Now the man could see other joggers passing by and he knew it was only a matter of time before another one disturbed him. To avoid the problem, he got out a pen and paper and put a sign in his window saying “I do not know the time!”. Once again he settled back to sleep. He was just dozing off when there was another knock on the window. “Sir, sir? It’s 8:45!”. Back to top

Derek Clayton: Determination

“Derek Clayton, the lone-wolf Australian, treated pre-race warm-ups like boxing weigh-ins, psyching out his rivals with a silent glower. Clayton broke the world record in 1969 and promptly vomited black gunk. He pissed blood for a week.”

[In the 1960’s Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila braved the baking-hot cobblestones of Rome in his bare feet to win the Olympic marathon; Moses Tanui once won a 10,000-meter silver medal, despite having one of his shoes fall off; Alberto Salazar ran with such recklessness that he received last rites after one race; and Emil Zatopek galvanized his nerve by playing suicide catch with a javelin, hurling it back and forth to his wife from 50 yards away.]

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This man and woman were making love when the woman cried out “Oh my God! I hear my husband coming! You must get out of here fast! Grab your clothes and jump out the window!”. The man hurriedly jumped out the window and low and behold fell into some bushes. As luck would have it, it started to rain. He sat there, wondering what he was going to do when a bunch of joggers happened to jog by. The man quickly jumped up and joined the joggers. As he was running along with the rest of the joggers, one asked him “Do you always run in the nude?”. The man answered, while gasping for air, “Oh yes, it feels so free having the air blow over your skin while you are running”. Then another runner asked “Do you always run carrying your clothes on your arm?”. The man answered breathlessly, “Oh yes, that way I can get dressed at the end of the run and get in my car to go home”. Then another runner asked “Do you always wear a condom when you run?”. “Well” he answered, “only when it’s raining”. Back to top

Procrusty Officials?

At the 1908 Olympic Games, the marathon, originally exactly 26 miles long, was officially increased by 385 yards. The reason? Race officials wanted the race to end in front of Edward VII’s royal box in the Olympic stadium in New York.

Two gas company servicemen, a senior training supervisor and a young trainee, were out checking meters in a suburban neighborhood. They parked their truck at the end of the alley and worked their way to the other end. At the last house a woman looking out her kitchen window watched the two men as they checked her gas meter. Finishing the meter check, the senior supervisor challenged his younger coworker to a foot race down the alley back to the truck to prove that an older guy could outrun a younger one. As they came running up to the truck, they realized the lady from that last house was huffing and puffing right behind them. They stopped and asked her what was wrong. Gasping for breath, she replied “When I see two gas men running as hard as you two were, I figured I’d better run too!”. Back to top

Huw Lobb: Man vs Horse

In mid-June 2004, marathon runner Huw Lobb became the first human being ever to win the annual Man vs Horse race at Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales. (He completed the 22-mile cross-country course in 2:05:19, 12 minutes ahead of the nearest horse).

Lobb was later asked by the press what he planned to do with the £25,000 prize. His reply? “Buy myself some decent training shoes.”

A blonde goes out for a run. She comes to a river and cannot see a bridge anywhere nearby. She spots another blonde on the opposite bank. “Yoohoo doll!” she shouts, “how can I get to the other side?”. The second blonde looks up the river then down the river then shouts back, “You’re already on the other side!”

I go running in the morning, before my brain figures out what I am doing.

Curt Clausen: Speed Walker

“I walked a marathon once,” Olympic speed walker Curt Clausen recalled, “where there was this marine who took off [running] and said, ‘I’ll have a heart attack before I let you beat me.’ Of course, less than a mile later, I blew by him and beat him by more than 20 minutes.”

The trouble with jogging is that by the time you realize you are not in shape for it, it is too far to walk back.

Running shoes in these days are more and more technologically advanced. I went in this store and they told me this new model of running shoes can even predict the weather! I asked how and the salesperson told me: “Leave your shoes outside the window for a little while: if they are wet it’s raining, if they are dry it’s sunny, if you cannot see them it’s foggy”. Back to top

Fit to be Tied

While running the New York Marathon in November, 1997, Kenyan runner John Kagwe had the shoelaces on his Nike Air Streak Vengeance running-shoes come untied three times. Twice, he stopped to retie, and then went into a sprint to catch up to the leaders. The third time, he just kept running, with one lace flapping. Though Kagwe went on to win the race, he missed setting a New York record – by 11 seconds.

[“Did we screw up?” Nike’s Kirk Richardson later mused. “Yes, we did.” Nike gave Kagwe, who was paid to wear the brand, the $10,000 which he would have won had he broken the record… Among the tricks used by runners to keep their laces from coming untied? Tucking the ends underneath the laces, covering laces with tape (a rules requirement for Olympic wrestlers), using a reef rather than a granny knot, and making two loops around the middle instead of one.]

[Trivia: According to Australian mathematician Burkard Polster, there are 43,200 possible ways to tie a shoe with two rows of six eyelets. The shortest method? Passing the lace from one eyelet to its neighbour on the same flap, then diagonally across to the other one.]

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Interval Training

Marathon runner Emil Zatopek was once advised to adopt a regimen of interval training. “Why should I practice running slow?” he replied. “I already know how to run slow. I want to learn to run fast!”

[“Everyone said, ‘Emil, you are a fool!'” he recalled. “But when I first won the European Championship, they said: ‘Emil, you are a genius!'”]

[Trivia: Zatopek was famed for his unusual running style. “Perhaps sometimes I was like a mad dog,” he once declared. “It didn’t matter about style or what it looked like to others; there were records to break.” Said Ohio State track coach Larry Snyder, “He does everything wrong but win.”]

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The battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. surely ranks as one of history’s greatest battles, ending efforts to conquer Greece by Darius, the Persian king. Prior to the battle, the renowned Greek messenger Phidippides is reputed to have run 150 miles in two days to secure aid from Sparta for the Athenians, and then run a little over 26 miles to carry news of the victory to Athens – before collapsing from physical exhaustion at the end of his ordeal.

[The 26-mile “marathon” race is understandably named in Phidippides’ honor.]

“Why couldn’t Pheidippides have died here?” — Frank Shorter’s comment to Kenny Moore at the 16-mile mark in one of Shorter’s first marathons.

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My first job was in a running shoe company; I tried but I just didn’t fit in. So then I got a job in a gym, but they said I wasn’t fit for the job.

Fast Runners

During the Sydney Olympics Kenyan long-distance runner Kip Lagat was asked why his country produced so many great runners. “It’s the road signs,” he replied. “‘Beware of lions’!”

[As Filbert Bayi found, training in Tanzania also carried canine risks. “I was out training one black night when I heard a noise,” he once recalled. “I turned around and saw a leopard. I threw some stones at him and he went away…”]

If athletes get athlete’s foot, do astronauts get mistletoe?


Two months before the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, marathon runner Emil Zatopek was advised by his doctors not to compete. “I had a gland infection in my neck,” he recalled. “Well I didn’t listen and what happened? Three golds.”

[Alas the effort almost killed him. “I was unable to walk for a whole week after that, so much did the race take out of me,” Zatopek recalled. “But it was the most pleasant exhaustion I have ever known.”]

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If you jog backwards, will you gain weight?

Mary Decker: Decked

Though clearly destined for Olympic glory, Mary Decker was too young to run in the 1972 Olympics. In 1976, she was injured. Four years later, she was unable to run on account of the American boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. At last, in the 3,000 meter event at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, she seemed certain to clinch a medal… until, with just three laps to go, Zola Budd stumbled into her and knocked her to the ground. The upshot? Budd, jeered by the American crowd, finished 7th. Decker did not finish the race and ended her career without an Olympic medal.

If a jogger runs at the speed of sound, can he still hear his Walkman?

Olympic Slowpoke

“At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Olmeus Charles from Haiti was last by the largest margin ever recorded. He set an all-time record for the 10,000 metres race. Giving the crowd tremendous value for money, he completed the course in 42 minutes 00.11 seconds. Everyone lapped him at least three times and the winner finished so far ahead he would have had time to complete another 5,000 metres. An argument broke out among the track officials as to whether he should be allowed to finish the course. Happily, the crowd were not denied this fine sight and the entire Olympic timetable was held up by fourteen minutes.”

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    • Q. What is a runner’s favourite subject in school ? A. Jog-raphy !
    • If the refrigerator and television weren’t so far apart, some of us wouldn’t get any walking training at all.
    • Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.
    • I have to run early in the morning, before my brain figures out what I am really doing.
    • The advantage of running every day is that you die healthier.
    • It is well documented that for every mile that you jog, you add one minute to your life. This enables you, at age 85, to spend an additional five months in a nursing home at 5,000 dollars per month.
    • I joined a running club last year to lose some weight, spent about $100. Haven’t lost a pound. Apparently you have to show up.
    • I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.
    • The value of advertising is that it tells you the exact opposite of what the advertiser actually thinks. For example: if the advertisement strongly suggests that particular brand of running shoes enabling athletes to perform amazing feats, the advertiser wants you to disregard the fact that shoe brand is unrelated to athletic ability.
    • If you are going to try cross country, start with a small country.
    • I don’t jog – it makes the ice jump right out of my glass.
    • You have to stay in shape. My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 today and we don’t know where she is.
    • If rabbit’s feet are so lucky, what happened to the rabbit?
    • “The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again” – Erma Bombeck
    • I had to give up jogging for my health. My thighs kept rubbing together and setting my pantyhose on fire.
    • You know you are stressed if you can achieve “runners high” by sitting up.

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Subject: How Many Ultrarunners Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb?

Ultrarunners are too busy training to change light bulbs. (Comment: Misses the point about changing bulbs on a dark trail.)

Real ultrarunners don’t need flashlights. They finish before dark. (Comment: Isn’t very funny, and there’s no spin on it.)

Ultrarunners who’ve learned the hard way don’t change bulbs — they change flashlights. (Comment: words of wisdom!…but how do we make it funny, too?)

Real ultrarunners don’t use flashlights: They use L.E.D’s! (Comment: I liked this one because it’s so arcane. Only an ultrarunner would think of it.)

Ultrarunners do it in the dark. (Good try! A little trite, tho)

My own answer combines #2 and # 5: None. Ultrarunners get in before it gets dark. As I recall, the line in the movie “My Favorite Year” went: “Death is easy. Comedy is hard.”