Dear Chad Stafko: OK, we’re happy to be runners. Get over it.

Recently someone called attention to a rather snide article in the Wall Street Journal opinion section called “OK, You’re a runner. Get over it.” The article, by Chad Stafko, ditches on 13.1 and 26.2 bumper stickers, on wearing race t-shirts in public, and jokes (I hope it’s a joke) that the only reason someone would “get up at 5 a.m. and run 10 miles adorned with fluorescent tape” is because “there is no more visible form of strenuous exercise than running” and in this age of social media, we crave attention and want to be seen.  Umm, right… because all the people I know are up at 5 a.m. looking out their windows to see if the person running by in reflective gear is someone they know, so they can then applaud them for it later.

Maybe we get up and do it because exercising makes us feel good, reduces our risk of heart attack and disease, gives us the pleasure of working towards goals and achieving them, and is an amazing way to get outside in the fresh air year round.

Maybe we enjoy advertising our distances because we like connecting to other runners, and inspiring people to start running because they look at us and realize how many normal people are doing it and how accessible it is.

Maybe we wish we lived in a country where more people were healthy and active, so we didn’t have to worry about friends, neighbors and relatives who are at higher risk for heart disease, type two diabetes, and stroke, and who aren’t living the same quality of life because they don’t exercise regularly.  Maybe every bumper sticker is an advertisement for a better way of living, not just a way to stroke our own egos by advertising our accomplishments.  Dear cars on the road, I see your Tony’s Donuts bumper sticker and I raise you one 13.1 bumper sticker.

In a world filled with advertising, we are advertising something healthy… something positive… something free.  And I guess, to Chad Stafko, something offensive.

In his defense, this guy is a journalist.  His job is to write entertaining, edgy articles that people want to read.  Perhaps in his world, snarky and controversial = funny, and offensive = viral.  It takes extra creativity to be funny without being negative, and it’s a lot easier to harp on some runners for advertising their joy of running than it is to take on big businesses for things that are actually harmful.  Maybe he was having a lazy day, or maybe it really bugs him that so many people are happy to be exercising.  His tone when writing about the rise in the popularity of running certainly made it sound like lots of runners isn’t a good thing.

I write a whole blog about running.  I have some good guesses as to what Chad Stafko would say about THAT.  But for every Chad Stafko, I’ve got people writing me e-mails and comments thanking me for helping them stay motivated to keep running, because they love the change it’s made in their lives.  There it is, right there – the positive impact of being public and talking about running is real.  The negative impact of irritating someone who thinks you’re an egomaniac for displaying your interest in running?  Let me just say, it’s probably not their biggest problem.

I suspect anyone annoyed by the sight of my 13.1 sticker or someone in a coffee shop wearing their race t-shirt is probably unsatisfied with their own life or level of fitness, and should do something about it.  Does it bother me when I see someone in a zumba t-shirt or with an ironman bumper sticker?  Um, no.  Not at all.  It might even give me something to talk to them about in line at the grocery store.  I found something active that I love to do, and I’m doing it.  I would be ecstatic to learn that you’ve done the same.

Maybe I’m crazy, but I like seeing people posting selfies of themselves at the gym, or doing something awesome.  I stay on Facebook so I can see my friends’ photos and updates, and nothing makes me happier than seeing my friends doing things they’re proud of and happy about.  Please – tell me you’ve taken up kayaking, lost some weight, joined a gym, started eating healthier, or won first place with your bowling league.  I LOVE IT.  If you have photos, that’s even better.

I’m irritated by this article because when I think about the impact, I don’t see any positive outcomes.  Someone who dislikes seeing people’s bumper stickers about their race distances is going to feel validated in their own inactivity, or their inability to be pleased about the accomplishments of others.  Someone who motivated themselves to get off the couch and get active in part because they were excited to earn themselves a specific shirt or car magnet now feels embarrassed that they’re proud of themselves for doing something difficult to improve their health and their lives.  That’s a lot more lame than a run-brag, if you ask me.

If you’ve found something that you love, that brings you joy, that’s healthy and harmless, I hope you do advertise it.  Get people thinking about it, show that it’s an interest of yours and answer questions if a beginner approaches you.  Get yourself a t-shirt proclaiming that you knit, or you’re a tennis freak, or you think rock climbers are some of the most awesome people ever.

Seeing evidence of your successes, your accomplishments, and your passions makes me happy, because I want that for everyone.  And the more of us who show we’ve found it, whatever IT is, the more people around us will be inspired to find something of their own that makes them happy enough to wear a t-shirt with it emblazoned across their chests.

Go ahead, Chad Stafko, buy that 0.0 bumper sticker you have your eye on.  It shows what makes you happy.

Anyone have some bragging they’d like to do?  Because if you do, I’m happy for you, and I’d really like to hear it.

Eek… what an offensive t-shirt. I can’t believe I wore that in public, and with such a smile, too!




  1. I’m pretty proud I ran 3 miles this morning at 5AM in 29 degree weather in Alabama ! Great article .

    1. You should be! Not only did you get out of bed at 5 a.m., you got out in the FREEZING COLD… and then kept going! Guess how many people didn’t? I’m one of them! Hope it felt great 🙂

  2. I’m proud that I PR’d in my 3 mile run yesterday by 4 seconds!

    1. And you should be 🙂 Congrats!

  3. I’m proud to have finished my first triathlon this year and then 3 more ’cause I got hooked and all before I turned 40! Thank you for your great blog.

    1. Awesome, good for you! People really get into triathalons, I love that they’re becoming so popular and people are having fun with them 🙂 Thanks for your comment, it makes my day to hear that people enjoy reading my blog!

  4. great blog post! i couldnt agree with you more.

    p.s. i love your shirt!! do you have any for sale?? i went on a 3.5 mile run the other morning in 30 degree MA weather, which i am sure you know all to well about.. i was in an area i wasnt all to familiar with at a hill i didnt even know about- i repeated to myself “i am running this!” instead of my usual “oh gheez, here we go!” lol

    1. LOVE IT! I think “i am running this” all the time in those situations! Good for you for getting out in the cold… I’m dreading it, I haven’t run since the half marathon on Sunday and am not looking forward to the first half mile while I warm up! After that, it’s actually really fun to be outside when it’s freezing out (literally) and not feel cold because you’re running. The shirt is available through cafepress – I made a store a while back so I could order myself some shirts, and I don’t make a profit, but you can order one through there just for fun!!!

      1. thanks! totally going to check it out 🙂

  5. I’m proud of you for writing exactly what every runner who read Chad’s article was thinking.

    I’m also proud of all the races I’ve completed, from 5k’s to full marathons. But I’m most proud of being part of such a positive, healthy and supportive running community!

    1. Thanks Matt! I’m glad to hear another runner felt the same way 🙂

  6. Love your reaction/letter/blog post! I hate when people complain about seeing my marathon sticker on my car! I mean really! Can’t I be proud of me!? And I love your shirt! For sale?

    1. You can get it through my cafepress store – I don’t make a profit and you get a fun shirt!

      Yes, you can be proud of you! And you know what? your friends and family should be, too. Wouldn’t you be of them?

  7. Today for the first time I used my lunch break to get in a four mile run. I was afraid of what my co-workers would think when they saw me head down the road in my running gear and almost didn’t go but I went. I just started a 1/2 marathon training plan and I can’t let shorter days or the opinions of others stop me.

    1. That’s awesome Leslie – I hope you had a good run! I love the half marathons I’ve run, and you really do have to get your running in when you can!

  8. Great reply to his strange article. I completed 2 half marathons this summer and couldn’t be prouder! I decided to start running a couple years ago to drop some weight. It worked, lost 30 pounds and got hooked on running!!

    1. That’s awesome! And who knows how many people heard about you losing weight and getting hooked on running and were inspired to try it for themselves… even if they don’t end up racing, running habitually can be such a positive life change.

  9. Thanks so much for your articulate and passionate blog post to this cynical article. The only good thing about it is that it fueled a six-mile run for me this morning.

    1. Nice 🙂

  10. I couldn’t even run 2 miles 9 months ago, but last month I ran my first marathon (Chicago). Now I am training for my first 50K . (I love the trails!) Through this I have lost weight, improved my mood/stress levels and gained strength that helps me take care of/lift my teenage daughter with multiple disabilities. I don’t have any oval bumper stickers. However, I do display my running club’s logo, because I am PROUD to be a part of a community that encourages healthy habits and each other!

    1. So awesome!

    2. That’s incredible, Aubrey! The challenges and stress of parenting a child with disabilities has to be intense. I started running because I had some post-partum depression, and it’s made me a better mother. I can only imagine how helpful it must be to you also – and it’s great that you have the support and camaraderie of a running club! Congrats on your first marathon and on your 50K training! You sound unstoppable. 🙂

  11. Thank you.

    1. You’re welcome. Thanks for reading – it’s nice not to let Stafko have the final word.

  12. I love that you responded to this article “OK, You’re a runner. Get over it.” While I was reading Chad’s article I could just picture him stuck in his office all day wishing he could be outside earning those stickers of 26.2 or 13.1. Thanks for the response to the article and keep RUNNING!!


    1. I will most definitely keep on running – I’m guessing that it’ll take A LOT more than Chad Stafko to stop any runner!

  13. I’ve been working towards an Iron Man for some time now, and when I finally passed the marathon mark about two months ago, it was a BIG deal for me. I’d wanted to do a marathon for years- and now I’ve done one! I am that person, that annoying runner with the stickers on her car, and I’m proud of it. Every time I look at my 26.2 sticker, it reminds me that I can do anything I set my mind to if I work hard enough at it. The fact that this guy seems so intent on tearing down a group of people as happy as the average runner is infuriates me, but more than that, it makes me feel bad for him. How low does your self-esteem and your sense of self-worth have to be if you’re willing to go after a group of people whose only crime is a desire for endorphins and a serious sense of dedication?

    1. “Every time I look at my 26.2 sticker, it reminds me that I can do anything I set my mind to if I work hard enough at it.” That’s so true. I sometimes look at my watch at 6:30 p.m. and realize I have to wrangle two tired kids in and out of the bathtub and into pajamas and into bed before I can sit down and relax for a few minutes… and then I just roll up my sleeves, remember that I can do almost ANYTHING for an hour if I can run for almost 2 and a half without stopping, and it makes it easier to get through… one step at a time.

  14. I’m wearing my 13.1 Disney Wine and Dine t-shirt proudly today. First 1/2 and I finished in the upright position.

    1. “I finished in the upright position” this made me smile… because honestly, that’s not a given for your first! Congrats. Wear that t-shirt!

  15. Great response Kelly! I wore my 10k Anniversary Run shirt to volleyball last night and often wear my Canada Army Run shirt … because I earned it.

    I’m proud I beat my 10k goal time by more than 3 minutes and I’m proud to be running my first half marathon exactly one year from the day I laced up my runners for the first time.

    1. Oh that’s REALLY cool timing! So much fun! You’re awesome Anita – I love how you’ve done a total life change and are now out of the professional world and into the outdoors enjoying life. It’s such a cool story 🙂 (see Anita’s blog for reference)

  16. Excellent! I saw your comment on my blog and decided to hop over and check out yours. Well-written and commendable. Thank you for “getting” it. Rock on, women runners!

  17. Man, he would hate me. I just bought a sticker that crosses out the 26.2 and replaces it with a 50. Well written article.

    1. If I ran 50 miles, I’d probably tattoo it on my forehead. (That would be followed by some serious regret, however.)

  18. I love this!

    I am proud I got out this morning and ran even though it was cold and I was tired. Trying really hard to keep it up through the winter. I am proud to be a runner at all. A few months ago I would have laughed at running at all let a alone a 5k…now I am thinking about training for a half at some point 😉

    1. Let’s start running longer when it gets warmer out 😉 Think your sister would do it with you?!

  19. Great follow up to an article that really missed the insightful points the author could have made if he weren’t so narrow-minded. There is no doubt that there is some truth to what he is saying, but he really missed an opportunity to make a bigger point about society. Instead, he just comes across as a hateful person who is, coincidentally, overweight and nonathletic.

    By the way, I ran 6 miles yesterday at 5AM in 12 degree weather. I certainly didn’t do it for show. Not one person saw me the entire run. Of course, now I am a pathetic braggart for mentioning it. At least I am not an apathetic writer unable to get off his couch long enough to elevate his heart rate.

    1. Um, 12 degrees? You don’t deserve a sticker for that, you deserve a medal for that. Of course, you wouldn’t want one because it would have frozen to your chest. Nice work – it’s amazing what we will do to maintain our running when its cold out, for the pleasure of running when the weather is perfect! (And also because it’s very hard to be civil to the Chad Stafko’s of the world when we miss a run.)

  20. Great response! Speaking of bragging, I just ran my 8th marathon with a time of 3:42, knocking 12 minutes off my previous time. THRILLED doesn’t begin to describe it! Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. Stafko. 🙂

    1. That’s insanely awesome. If I smoked, that’s what I’d want to smoke 😉

  21. Good response. I post most of my training runs on social media as well as race results and bling shots. I likely offend a few people but there are a number of close friends I have actually inspired to take up running and if my in your face attitude about my sport and accomplishments betters the health of one close friend then f**k then rest of em. I’m going to run my first full marathon this weekend and you can bet your last dollar that my accord will be emblazoned with a “26.2” shortly thereafter.

    1. I’ve had enough people tell me they started running again after seeing my race photos or talking to me about running that I don’t feel so bad mentioning it. Am I really worried that my friends care so little about me that they can’t be bothered to scroll past a photo of me wearing a bib number on Facebook? Perhaps it’s because I only have 186 friends on Facebook… that’s right, I’m friends with people that I’m *gasp* actually friends with. Maybe in that sense I’m lucky, because they’re all close enough to me to scroll past the things I post that don’t interest them… and I reciprocate when they post news articles that other friends of theirs probably love. I’d rather see someone sharing something that made them happy then see that they “liked” a restaurant and now I have to scroll past a glorified Olive Garden advertisement. Let’s be pleased for one another, and focus our irritation on things that matter!

  22. I think what this fella is really missing out on, over all, is that running people also have running friends, and so these topics are interesting to them and the people important to them. They’re not showing off for you, nameless hater… They’re showing off for fellow runners and family members. I didn’t rush out to buy a 26.2 sticker for my car after my first marathon – a friend who was very proud of me bought it for me a month later because he beleived it was wrong that I just did that giant thing in my life, and I didn’t have this status symbol among runners yet. (I now sport a 27.8 – “I got lost” – magnet… because that’s funny…and mostly true…).

    Another thing I note is, Facebook is just overflowing with the “bathroom mirror selfie” of just about anyone showing off what they are wearing, (or in some terrible and disturbing instances, what they’ve just done… …Well done, you’re two and have access to social media.) I don’t see this guy writing about how annoyed he is about them, and I doubt he ever will. And the only reason I can think of is that he’s one of them. I guaruntee he has at least one, if not two facebook accounts – and whichever is his “non-professional” one is probably just ripe with slefies. Point the mirror at yourself dude, and stop taking photos long enough to judge where you stand.

    And lastly, He has done, with some great success, what he was hired to do. Go viral and draw more traffic to WSJ. He wins.

    Just my thoughts… for whatever they’re worth.


    1. I know, it kills me that he’s drawn so much attention with this article… and yet, I have to wonder if the old saying that any publicity is good publicity is really true. I certainly won’t be reading another article of his. Not to mention, my opinion of the Wall Street Journal took a bit of a dive as well. Not because they published something I disagree with, but because the quality of the piece seemed pretty poor. If you want to read an article that makes fun of runners and is actually funny, check out The Onion satire by Michael Cowie:

      It’s hilarious, to both runners who are guilty of over-sharing in their post-race excitement, and to the people who love them and had to suffer through it. Now that’s well done.

  23. ^Oops, sorry, that Anon, that’s me.

    1. Thank you!

    2. Thanks Laura 🙂

  24. Great post. Perfect reply to his poorly thought out argument. As far as a brag, I just ran my 6th marathon and couldn’t be happier, but I don’t have a 26.2 sticker, so maybe I could be happier. 😛

    1. hahahahaha – just don’t get six stickers, you won’t have room for them on your car 😉

  25. After feeling very irritated by Chad’s article I was SO happy to come across this!! No one should be shamed for doing something they love that is healthy and fulfilling. I have a 26.2 sticker on my car and I smile every time I see it because I am so proud of myself and if someone else thinks I’m an arrogant self obsessed runner then that is fine because my heart thanks me every day for being that way 🙂 love the message of this article it was inspiring to read and made me smile

    1. Thank you Sarah! I love what you say about not shaming people for doing something they love that is healthy and fulfilling. When we find something that makes our lives better, that we really enjoy and that makes us happy, we want to share it with people! How many times have family and friends said to you “You’ve GOT to try this recipe!” or “Go see that movie… you’ll love it!!!” To some extent, our race magnets on our cars are doing the same thing. It sends a message that “hey, this is awesome, it made me happy enough to want to advertise it to the world… if you think you’d like it, you should try it!”

  26. As a runner and a nurse, I see what the effects of NOT running are. (Well, to be truthful, the effects of little or no physical exercise.) Obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis (from carrying too much weight around) depression, blood clots, the list goes on and on.
    I’d like to see a set of Mr. Stafko’s vital signs and cholesterol levels, his resting heartrate, his pulmonary function, cardiac output…….any runner, even one who only does a couple of miles a week would have him beat.
    Having said that, haven’t people always bragged about doing something good? An accomplishment?
    I saw a sign in my doctor’s office. “Obesity doesn’t run in your family, you’re obese besause no one runs.” How true…

    1. I can only imagine how frustrating it would be to be a nurse and worry about your patients health : /

  27. Such a great rebuttal. Thank you. If more people would run, walk and bike, we’d have more people feeling healthy with positive attitudes, clearer thinking, and fewer unhealthy people with low self esteem writing opinion pieces against them and veering their cars toward them. I wish Chad would run.

    1. It’s true – running is such a fantastic way to get healthier and happier.

  28. Why be a running hater, Chad? Is it because those who cannot do, cut down those who can? Find something else to rag on , please..

    A 13.1 runner and proud of it

    1. As you should be. I have noticed myself that running 13 miles is quite far and takes some time.

  29. Excellent! I loved your post! I couldn’t have said it any better! I must have really upset many people today since I was wearing a Big Sur 10.6-miler shirt, with a Santa Rosa Marathon Jacket over it, and I was carrying my bag from the Ventura Marathon. None of my “insulting” outfit was deliberate. My outfit was made up of clothing that was handy, clean, and comfortable. It was no way intended to bring attention to myself and my “accomplishments.” I’m not even a fast runner. In fact, I don’t even consider myself a runner. I prefer to say I am a sleepwalker, a scamper-er, a sexy-walker, and an occasional runner who happens to participate in many running events. In fact, I will be leaving tomorrow morning to enjoy the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay! 😀 I became a runner by default. I specialize in the care and prevention of injuries, and over the years I’ve had the honor of working with many runners, keeping them injury-free. I LOVE supporting the runners who have trained with me, cheering for runners along the course I don’t even know, and of course, waiting at the finish line for my husband when he running. I love to see the faces of the people with “those stickers” on their car. 99% of the time, those people have a smile on their face, appear fit and healthy, and have really nice taste in practical vehicles; vehicles that usually have bike racks, and perhaps a kayak on top, like mine! 🙂 Hopefully that fella from WSJ will realize how he “sounded” in his article and maybe get up, get outside, and take a few steps in the right direction…towards a healthier, happier outlook on life and the people running around in it. Thanks for the great read! 😀

    1. You sound like a pretty fun and enthusiastic person – I’m glad you’re out there on the race course cheering, and I will laugh every time I think of someone describing themselves as a “scamper-er” or “sexy-walker”. No jogging for you… you are way too creative for that 🙂

      1. Thanks Kelly! Tomorrow, I will add “sleepwalker” to my “running” style tomorrow morning as I enjoy the Pacific Grove Lighthouse 5k the day before I scamper the Big Sur Half in Monterey. I “ran’ into a gal wearing a Boston Hoodie this afternoon while I enjoying a wine tasting…the hoodie had a very subtle Boston logo on the sleeve near the wrist…I asked if she was running the event this weekend…she didn’t know about it since she was in town for a law firm conference. I asked if she wanted to run…she said she wished…
        her hoodie didn’t make me resent her since it’s obvious she’s a waaaay more exceptional/fast runner than I happen to be.. she didn’t think i was lame because Im a slow-poke…in fact, she said, “i’m an ultra runner…roads are really hard for me…when I run trails over 50k, im lucky to go any faster than an 11 min mile…”
        Proof, again, people who take pride in what they have accomplished do not belittle the accomplishments of others 🙂
        Thanks again for writing such a wonderfully articulate and inspiring rebuttal.
        Wishing you many more miles filled with smiles!

        1. That’s neat about your conversation with the ultra-runner. They’re a breed unto themselves, I think. To be an ultra-runner, you have to love the journey so much that everything else is secondary. I’m not saying we don’t, but, well, they have a lot more miles for every finish, and their training is literally just settling into running, and running, and running, and running… they HAVE to love the distance more than the speed!

  30. Great post Kelly! I see the stickers, magnets and shirts and motivation, inspiration and connecting with other runners and athletes. I currently have a 13.1, 26.2 and next year plan to add 50k to the back of my car.

    1. 50K is CRAZY! (Good crazy. Not bad crazy. As long as you are doing it and not me.) Congrats and good luck with your training!

  31. Hi Kelly! Thank you so much for your post. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    I’m proud that running has kept me healthy and sane, and I’m proud to be doing my third marathon this weekend.

    1. Have a GREAT RACE!!!

  32. i read chad’s article in the WSJ and was equally appalled by it. I’m glad you wrote this counter Kelly. Chad put forth a very poor argument. he tries to compare runners to self-infatuated people who post selfies on facebook! it’s as if he expects all runners to run on a treadmill in their basements where they can’t be seen by another living soul; and if they don’t do this then they’re being selfish and narcissistic! it’s very clear that mr. stafko is not a runner himself because he doesn’t understand the commitment and sense of self-achievement of a runner. i’m sorry if mr. stafko was “subjected” to seeing me run by while you mowed your lawn or were out driving one afternoon, but to write this article accusing running of being “a way to fullfill the look-at-me desire” is a sad argument. in fact, i’d go so far as to say that writing the article is his way of garnering attention at the expense of runners, building himself up by putting runners down. very sad indeed.

    1. It was definitely not the best argument… it’s kind of a shame that it went so viral, but given how much attention it was receiving I really wanted to put a counter-argument out there!

  33. Full disclosure…I have a 26.2 sticker on my car. However, I don’t think I quite fit the supposed ‘running snob’ stereotype that this gentleman was whining about in his opinion piece (can’t bring myself to call it an article). When I first started running, I was about 50 pounds overweight. Far from wanting to get out and ‘show off’ in front of others, I used to get up at 5 or 6 in the morning and run so it was a) dark, and b) there were fewer people around to see me (and, presumably, wonder ‘what is that fat girl doing’?). It took a lot of time, and the support of the awesome local running community, before I felt confident enough to run in full daylight without being embarassed.

    So, yes. I have a 26.2 sticker. And perhaps a part of me likes having other people know about my accomplishment. But more than anything else, I use it as a reminder to myself…about where I was when I started, and what I managed to achieve. And every time I see it, it makes me smile.

    Great post Kelly, thank you.

    1. Thanks for commenting – I imagine there are a lot of us who can relate to feeling embarrassed when we get out there and run. To do it anyway, lose the weight, get healthier, and make it all the way to marathon status is incredible. Keeping a visual reminder of it where you can see it helps you remember your own awesomeness on those not so awesome days that we all have. Plus, anyone who mentions it or knows that you used to be overweight, now has great inspiration from someone who shows that you don’t have to already be athletic in order to start running. You, like me, probably didn’t start out expecting to fall in love with running and end up doing distance. We show others, even more than the pros, that running is accessible and something that’s worth doing, even a few slow miles a week. When people realize that, the few miles often become more, and here we are! Good for you for all those early, cold mornings of losing your breath and working on your running that led you to weight loss, marathoner status, and a sticker that reminds you of your new self.

    2. Your response was so articulate, Kelly. Well said!
      SDK – I’m proud to be in a community of runners that includes inspiring and strong people like you.

      1. Thanks Amanda! You running the Turkey 5 this year? I’m doing the 5k with the boys in the stroller, maybe I’ll see you in the crowd 🙂

  34. Thank you! You perfectly summed up how many of us felt after reading Chad’s offensive article!
    I am more inclined to sticker my car after reading it!

  35. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this response! It made me so infuriated, I was going to write a response to this Mr. Stafko myself until I found your wonderful article back to him! THANK YOU!


    1. I felt kind of infuriated myself! Writing a response made me feel so much better, and hearing from other runners like you is the icing on the cake. We’re not going to let him make us feel insecure enough to stop running in public, or remove our hard-earned bumper stickers from our cars (many that were actually gifts from proud family members!). We’re happy doing what we do, and we’ll be happy for others about what they do, too.

  36. You are now my new hero.

    1. Thanks – that makes my day 🙂

  37. I couldn’t resist the urge to search for Mr Stafko on Facebook to see what he looks like. Yeah. I found him and yes, he looks just like what you think he does. It’s just a head shot, but I’m pretty sure the rest of him matches. It wouldn’t hurt him one bit to take up some sort of exercise – other than his fingers tapping the keys on his laptop and running his head and mouth about stuff he doesn’t know. I’m really not a mean person, but sometimes you’ve gotta call it like you see it. Keep running, folks! Be proud of your commitment and accomplishments! Wear those t shirts so everyone can see em. Consider it your privilege to get under the skin of people like Chad Stafko.

  38. Even in France these articles and blog posts buzzed !!
    As co-founder, I couldn’t agree more when you wrote “In a world filled with advertising, we are advertising something healthy… something positive… something free.” It’s so great to do good for ourselves and even better sometimes doing good for others while running for charities.
    With my team, we love that people all around the world give meaning to running and after all to their lives.
    Thanks Kelly

    1. Thanks Thomas! What an honor to get comments from the co-founder of a French running site! Make me want to get a “je cours” sticker for my car 😉 I’m glad to see runners from all over the world continuing to run and not worry about Stafko’s comments.

  39. I love your response to Mr. Stafko’s article and to brag about my accomplishments, I completed three half-marathons this year (with a PR in the third one) and also training for the miami marathon next year with goals to run it in three hours and qualify for Boston then I can get me one of those 26.2ers bumper sticker.

    1. Awesome – good luck qualifying for Boston! I saw your gatech web url – I went to Emory University for undergrad, not too far away 🙂

  40. Great post! Now I admit about 1.5 years ago, I would have been nodding my head along with Stafko’s article. I didn’t understand why people would put themselves through that–and yeah, I was a little jealous of all the awesome neon clothing.
    But then I realized I really had to do something to keep in shape and I was too cheap to join a gym, so running it is–and I TOTALLY GET IT NOW. I was never one for team sports–they’re awesome, but I love setting personal goals and getting after them, and running is basically perfect for that. My goal for my first 10K (this past Sunday) was to get as close to 1:00:00 as possible–and I did it in 58:36!

    1. I can’t seem to get myself to join a gym when I love getting outside so much! I keep looking into them thinking it’d be good to diversify my fitness options, and then the thought of working out indoors and paying money for it when I could splurge on another winter running item for much less just keeps me heading outside instead. Congratulations on your first 10k time! That’s a really great time for a first 10k! Mine was 1:07… I would still love to break an hour!

  41. This just makes me more proud of my shiny new 26.2 sticker next to my 13.1 on my car. Since I’m the only one that knows what I went through to earn it, but I’ve encouraged so many more to start since just a year and a half ago I couldn’t run 2 miles. 70 lbs lighter and a positive outlook on life. Why not spread the joy that I’ve found to anyone else thats wants to be healthy and happy?
    I think I’ll send Chad a personal telegram when I get my BQ (hopefully in my next marathon).

    1. I think Chad may be getting quite a few telegrams and personal e-mails about people’s running accomplishments from now on. Perhaps it will inspire him to run 😉

  42. I *just* read that Chad S. article…a friend of mine posted it on FB. It took everything I had not to write a snarky response to that post. My 13.1, 26.2, and Ragnar stickers represent a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. They represent all the steps I’ve taken over the past few years to get through some really rough waters. They represent what keeps me healthy, mentally and physically. I EARNED those stickers. 6 years ago, I couldn’t run 2 miles. Sunday I’m running my 15th 1/2 and in Jan I’m running my 3rd full. I think I’m going to be passive aggressive….I’ll just post a link to your post on my FB. 😉

    1. It’s so true that no one else knows what went into those stickers… and I completely agree with you that those stickers are for mental as well as physical health. No one knows it like a runner who NEEDS to run. Link back to the post whenever you like – perhaps include it at the bottom of any of your race photos, too. Make it easier to remind anyone who’s feeling unhappy for you that perhaps they should join you instead!

  43. Thank you for your great article. I wrote many a response on the bringing up several points:
    1. Stafko resides in an area where a larger majority of the population is obese compared to average, so he is writing for his audience, a bunch of lazy people who think fitness is a fad instead of a life choice.
    2. Stafko himself is pretty large and probably obese (like the population around him) and he is trying to justify his bad life choices.

    I have run 6 half-marathons and am in New York Road Runners and have qualified to be in the 2014 NYC marathon. I am quite excited. Keep running.

    1. Good luck at the 2014 NYC marathon! I hope you have a great race!

  44. Hi Kelly! I just discovered your blog and enjoyed reading this piece. Thanks for sharing your perspective on it. I wrote a letter to the editor in response if you’re interested in reading mine as well: Happy running! I feel lucky to be part of a community of such inspiring and supportive people. xo

    1. Fabulous – I loved the points you made!

    1. Make sure you wear neon reflective tape so you get as much attention as possible 😉

  45. I started running because I wanted to loose weight and get healthy (I lost 110 pounds running and weight training over the last 20 months. ) after awhile I found out I was actually pretty good at it so I started running races last summer. I ran 25 races: quite a few 5K, 10K, 15K, 10 miles and a couple Half Marathons, I love running and I love sharing my accomplishments to others in hopes that they too will start running or at least find another way to exercise and get healthy.

    One thing I have learned through this journey of mine is that sometimes your going to hit a bump in the road or dead end. Most people will give up and go back to the old style. Not me, I try to find another way around. There are several different ways to Chicago and if one road is shut down under repairs. Then I have to find another route and get back up and moving foreward to my destination. so if I pull a calve muscle running I may bike for a week till it heals or may even swim. You Gotta Keep Moving!

    Early mornings when I’m out on the streets running it’s like my own personal meditation time. My time with God and being surrounded by all things made by God. It clears my mind and helps relieve stress plus it helps keep me fit. so running helps me mentally and physically. I get a lot out of running and it’s changed my life. So no I’m not going to quit running and Yes this artical makes me want to run even more.

    1. I understand what you mean about it being personal time… I need the quiet in my day sometimes after being around two small children! Even if they’re in the jogging stroller, it’s often the most peaceful part of my day. Although nothing quite compares to an early, early morning long run alone in the summer as the sun is coming up…

  46. I love your post, and all the replies! Thanks! 🙂

    1. um, you really live in the artic? REALLY?! stay warm! thanks for your comment 🙂

  47. BAM! 3 miles this morning in 30 degree weather .

    I stumbled across your blog in response to Chad’s crazy article. Great response!

    His article really struck a nerve with me and I was engrossed in reading all the comments. It actually inspired my run this morning – I have been in an unmotivated state as of late. I started my run this morning thinking – Whee!!!! I’m running, look at me!!! Everyone, look at me! I can run! I can run! As my run progressed I became more reflective as I think many of us do when we run. I then I thought – yep, I can run. I CAN run. I am a healthy able bodied 38 year old woman and I can run. I thought – wow, I’m really lucky to be able to run. Instead of listening to some guy who criticises running, I should be celebrating running. I know someone who recently lost her leg in a boating accident and is now struggling with prothesis, pain & some dark days. I thought – wow – I’m REALLY lucky to be running.

    As my run progressed more thoughts and ideas raced (get it ‘raced’) through my head. Wouldn’t it be great if something positive did come out of his article??? I thought – if he really gave running a chance then he might understand us runners. I think we should challenge him to try running. Really TRY running – not just I went out for 10 minutes and yep it is everything terrible I thought it would be. We should challenge him to sign up for a race 5K, 4 mile, 10K – whatever. A goal for him to work toward. You know what I bet would happen? He would be encouraged, supported and even be embraced by the running community – heck that is the type of peeps we are, right???

    In 6 months – I would love to see an article titled ‘Now, I’m a runner. I get it.”

    Just some of my rambling thoughts during MY run this morning. Happy Monday all!


    1. I agree – it’s amazing to be able to run. Sometimes I remind myself of how lucky I am to be out there running, because when I start a race and watch all those incredible runners in the front finishing so far ahead of me, I can feel really slow or inept. Reminding myself how incredible it is that I can run 13.1 miles, and I’m healthy, and I don’t have chronic pain or mobility issues, helps put things into perspective and make me grateful that if I’m slow today I have the chance to improve tomorrow. I don’t want to take it for granted!

  48. I love reading all the success stories in the comments, and love living my own success story. The horror! I actually implied that I am, *gasp* proud of myself! And there, I said it, I am proud of myself. And proud of the countless others who have inspired me and continue to inspire me to push myself to be a better version of me… a healthier, more energetic, more centered version of me. We are all blazing our own trails and doing a damn fine job of it.

    People such as this “journalist” who can’t rise above their own insecurities and egos to even allow others to enjoy the successes they’ve worked so hard to acheive… well, pfft. I can’t imagine he’s getting much positive attention at the moment. 🙂

    Keep running, people! Thanks for bringing us all together, Kelly!

    1. Thanks Stephanie, I’m glad you found my response and all these comments – it’s nice to realize that so many runners agree that it’s great to be proud of ourselves, because that’s one of the things that gives us the motivation to continue running and taking our health and happiness into our own hands. I got so mad reading his article and picturing some of the new runners I know who are so excited to have completed their first 5k, and here Stafko is trying to make them feel guilty for sharing on Facebook or buying themselves a bumper sticker to remind themselves of how resilient and motivated they are. It’s nice to know that so many other runners feel like I do, and NOT like Stafko does.

  49. Stuck at home and stumbled onto your blog. I’ve seen many responses to the idiotic Station piece and I have to say your’s is my favorite.

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