From wildlife encounters to bathroom emergencies, running and embarrassment sometimes go hand in hand. Check out readers’ most awkward running moments below—and be thankful they haven’t happened to you.
I was so stoked to run St. George’s downhill marathon one October. The buses shlepped us to the top of the canyons at an ungodly hour, leaving no time for pre-race restroom rituals. I knew I’d need to find a porta potty along the route, timed perfectly to shave as little time off my race as possible. 6 miles in, I found it: the perfect porta potty. Except it wasn’t. There wasn’t any toilet paper in this one, and no signs that there ever was any. Anywho. Marathoners make sacrifices, so I left a piece of my wardrobe behind and ran the rest of the race commando. Gotta say—pretty freeing, and still ran a PR.
I one time tripped and fell (HARD), did a somersault, and landed on the ground with a THUD, right in front of my husband’s co-worker and a mom with babies in a stroller.
I was running around Riverfront Park a lot. It was dusk, and I was running underneath the bridge by what is now Osprey restaurant. I hear these awful screaming noises, and see these two scrawny, tiny little weasel-like animals—mink—that are clearly in a battle to the death. I am terrified because they’re right on the path, and I’ve got nowhere to go. The right side is the river and the left side is rocks. Then the mink who is the aggressor turns toward me and starts running directly for my ankles and feet. I had to run hurdles like I did in middle school. I finally think I’m good, and then I hear this squeaking, huffing noise. The mink is chasing me—not a little bit chasing me, but full on. It’s not until a bike goes by that it decided to turn around and go back.
I went for a nice 8-mile run on Thanksgiving Day in Buffalo, NY. Everything was closed and at around 5 miles in I ended up pooping outside of the university’s campus, right by the sign.
I was on a run through a neighborhood in Hayden and “it” came on fast. I had to make a decision. I wasn’t close to any businesses or gas stations. I wasn’t above going in someone’s bushes, but that was not preferable. So . . . I knocked on the door of a house that had their garage open. I was young, handsome, and sweaty, but I knew my request would still be a challenge. A middle-aged woman opened the door, and I made my case to use her bathroom. She was very hesitant, but the urgency was made quite clear on my face. She obliged. I used her bathroom, turned on the fan as I left, and gave her as many thanks as I could without paying her. I ran home having left my pride and bowels somewhere in Hayden.
When I was coaching cross-country, I was out running with the kids and we stopped at a gate to do some stretching. While stretching, a bee flew up my shorts and stung me near my crotch. We had to run back to the school. By the time I got back, I was swollen from the neck down to my feet. I had to go to the ER to get a steroid shot and I ended up filing a L&I claim, my only work injury in 40 years of working.
Sarah Hauge is a writer and editor who lives in Spokane with her husband and two kids. She disintegrates in heat, so this summer she’s attempting to turn herself back into an early morning runner. Sarah is running the BRRC’s Sundae Sunday 10-Miler this fall.