Could You Date a Serious Runner?

Or, if you’re not a runner, could you date someone who was also passionate about your number-one passion?

My boyfriend asked me this last night. Though I’m a little miffed that he’d ponder a rhetorical situation in which I’m with another guy—one who could run a 25-minute 5-K without looking like this:


…I thought the question was interesting.

At first I said yes. What’s better than sharing something you love with someone you love? But then, I reconsidered.

If I were dating a serious runner, there would be nothing non-running in my life. My job’s all about running. A good portion of my free time is spent running, talking about running, or thinking about running.

I love running, but not so much that I want to build my entire life around it. If, God forbid, something were to happen to keep me from running, a life in which my job and boyfriend were both running-centric would be too much to bear.

Plus, part of what makes my relationship with Paul so nice is that both of us are somewhat interested in what the other person is passionate about. He’s run a few races, and I’ve gleefully dished out all kinds of training and racing advice. On the flip side, he’s really into cooking—including stuff I’d never attempt to cook on my own—and I’ve learned a lot from him.

Though he said he wouldn’t want to date someone as food-obsessed as he is, I think two obsessive runners would be a far worse match than two foodies. When runners spend too much time together, in any context, there seems to be this unhealthy tendency to try to out-crazy each other.

Would I have run 10 marathons already if I didn’t spend the bulk of my time working with people who run that many marathons in a single year? Would I be training this much if it weren’t commonplace to head out for five miles or a hill workout over lunch? Would I be running my long runs fast if I didn’t have a coworker who swears it’s the secret to qualifying for Boston?

Probably not. And while this kind of mentality makes sense at Runner’s World, it doesn’t make sense in the real world, where there’s more to life than running.

If Paul and I were both logging heavy weekend mileage, there’d be no one to have freshly cooked bacon ready when I walked in the door. We’d spend a lot more time laying around, exhausted, and a lot less time doing the fun stuff he plans while I’m out on a multi-hour run.

I like not having to out-crazy him, but I also like that he’s willing to do a half-marathon while I’m tackling the full…as long as they serve lobster rolls and beer at the finish. (Our fall plan.)


About Meghan Loftus
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