Appearances can be deceiving

Posted on April 7, 2010


There are some things you do when running a half marathon to make it look like you’ve done this before.  You buy the right kit (we’ve all heard the “all the gear, no idea” mantra), you put on your serious running face, some people even affect a running style (but not necessarily speed) that makes them look like a pro – in their eyes at least.

But behaviour at the water stops is something else.

The half marathon in question was a couple of weeks ago.  The venue was Reading.

It’s the first half that I’ve actually run but the second large race (I attempted a full marathon in Stockholm a few years ago with disastrous results.)  And what confuses me is the fact that people grab a bottle of water, take one swig, and then sling to one side what is still a perfectly good bottle of H2O.

In Reading, they were doing this with the Lucozade Sport too…

Perhaps it’s the Northerner in me that made me want to cling to my bottle and take sips over the next few miles rather than discard it so easily.  Or perhaps, more likely, it was the fact that I knew I’d need another sip in half a mile’s time and the next drinks station wasn’t for another three!

And yet, one after another, one copying another, one thinking it’s what the pros do, just like the others, nobody else seemed to hold on to theirs.  (Admittedly, I may have gone a bit far when veering off course around the 9 mile mark to put my empty bottle in a bin…)  Instead they chucked them.  They all looked like professionals.  To me, they just looked silly.

Of course, none of them looked so silly as the group of sponsored runners who, to a person, discarded their near full bottles with great aplomb and not a little coordination after a mere sip each at the 3 mile mark.

They were all wearing t-shirts that loudly declared them to be running for charity –  Wateraid.