A passionate marathoner offers advice and insight at a steady clip
Posted Friday, Nov. 06, 2009
Runner's World executive editor Mark Remy is the kind of guy with whom you’d want to go for a run. A veteran marathoner with a childlike love for the sport, Remy would not judge you for wearing a cotton T-shirt, he thinks the whole pasta thing is overblown and he might offer a trite slogan just when you need it most.
Best of all, Remy loves running. To spread the gospel and to help nonrunners and runners coexist peacefully, Remy has created a witty collection of the unspoken rules of the sport. They can be found in his new book, The Runner's Rule Book: Everything a Runner Needs to Know--And Then Some (Rodale, $17.99).
Some of the humorous rules include "Do whatever it takes to finish ahead of a costumed runner" and "Call them running shoes."
Amazon.com says of the book, "With 100+ rules that cover the basics of running, racing, track etiquette, and apparel and gear, including hilarious running commentary on running culture, The Runner’s Rule Book will be the reference guide you’ll turn to again and again for answers to your burning running questions."
Remy recently answered a few questions about The Rule Book and running culture.
Which rule do you always end up breaking?
I wouldn’t say I always end up breaking it, but . . . probably Rule 1.47: Let Angry Motorists Go. When I have a close encounter with a driver — e.g., he or she rolls through a stop sign or blows around a corner without looking my way — it’s awfully hard for me not to express my displeasure. Especially if that driver is on the phone. This is why I don’t run with a large stick.
Are runners a misunderstood group, and if so, why?
I think we are, sometimes, to nonrunners. If you’re a nonrunner and you see some poor sap out there in searing heat and humidity or driving rain or a snowstorm, running hill repeats or a 20-miler or whatever, you’re bound to find it puzzling. And actually, for a lot of runners, I think that puzzlement is a source of pride.
Which rule or rule of thumb generated the most debate at
I would say Rule 1.20 — the one suggesting that ice baths are bunk. I know that many of my RW colleagues swear by ice baths after a long run or race. Not me. I still maintain that ice baths are an elaborate practical joke being played on runners: "Dude, you know what you should do after your run? (snicker) Go sit in a tub full of ice water. (snicker) No, seriously, it’ll be great." I’m not falling for it!
The running tips speak to experienced runners, novices and nonrunners. How hard was that to pull off?
Well, that’s gratifying to hear, because it’s just what I was aiming for. Not that hard, really. As a former nonrunner and novice, and current "experienced runner," I like to think I can relate to all three groups. Although I’m apparently still unable to refer to myself as an "experienced runner" without putting that phrase in quotation marks.
Are you tempted to kindly tell people running in place at stop lights to relax?
Sometimes. Then I remember Rule 1.13: Keep Unsolicited Advice to Yourself. And I move on.
Why do you love running so much?
Where should I start? I love running’s simplicity. I love the fact that it hurts sometimes. I love that our sport’s stars are so accessible, and so down-to-earth. I love how a 45-minute run on a bad day can act like a "reset" button, leaving me refreshed and energized. I love how each time I run a marathon, I swear them off forever — then keep signing up for marathons. I love that when I ran my first Boston and made the final turn onto Boylston Street to the finish, I cried. (What other sport packs that kind of emotional punch?) I love being part of such a fantastic global community; as a group, runners are the nicest bunch of people I’ve ever met. And I love being able to eat ice cream pretty much with impunity.