The Dumb Runner Guide to Punching

A recent headline caught our attention, readers, and we think it should catch yours, as well. It is shocking and alarming, so be prepared.

Here is the headline:

Man Punched Jogger in the Face Thinking He Had Robbed an Elderly Woman

Straight away, you're probably wondering at least three things. One, you're wondering, "Huh?" This is because of the unartful structure of the headline, which seems to suggest that a man clocked someone he thought was an old woman, with the intention of robbing her, only to learn that the someone in question was actually a jogger.

This is not what happened, as you learn, gradually, when you read on. (Long story short: A man mistook a runner for a thief, and punched him as he passed "to prevent him from fleeing.") (Also: The puncher had "had alcohol.")

Two, you're wondering, "Where did this happen?" The answer to that is: Lincoln, England, a town in North East Lincolnshire. Which explains why I used the phrase "straight away" up there and why I keep wanting to say, out loud, "What's all this, then?" even as I type these words.

It also explains the name of the outlet responsible for that headline, which is The Grimsby Telegraph, which might be the most English-sounding newspaper we have ever encountered.

Third and finally, you're wondering, "Is it time for a refresher course on running and punching?" And the answer to that is a resounding "Yes." Here we go.


Do you think this Grimsby Telegraph is related to the Beatles song "Eleanor Rigby"?
Unlikely. They spell and pronounce their names differently. Also, let's stick to questions about punching, please.

What should I do if I'm ever punched while running?
Most experts recommend reeling.

Is it ever OK for me to punch someone while I'm running?
Yes, but only in limited circumstances. If someone is being super annoying, for instance.

May I punch my way through a crowded starting corral at a race?
You may not. Etiquette dictates that the proper way to move through such a crowd is by shoving and elbowing—punching is considered uncouth.

What if the starting corral is full of Nazis?
In that case, yes, punching is acceptable.

Is it OK to use the threat of a punch to maintain my personal space while running?
Yes. The most common way to accomplish this is by extending both arms and "punching the air," as if your arms are pistons, as you run. You may or may not also say, out loud, "I'm doing this, and if you get hit, it's your fault."

As a runner, what else can I punch?
Punching is a surprisingly versatile tool in the runner's toolkit. Shoes a bit too tight? Punch them loose. Can't get into a stubborn gel packet? Punch it open. Forgot to pack your foam roller on race weekend? Punch those knots right out of your quads!

Punching is also a powerful way to show your comfort zone who's boss:

Is punching while running a good workout?
Absolutely. Vigorous punching will burn an additional 50 calories per mile—more, if you're punching an actual victim who's fighting back.

Should I wear boxing gloves while I do this?
No! You will need special running punch gloves. Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour, among others, offer many styles, starting at $59.95.

I can't tell if you're joking.
Sometimes even I can't.

Happy punching!