In the running lexicon, the word "Penguin" has come to mean a person who runs more for the joy of running than for recognition and public rewards. Some of us are perpetual Penguins. We are consumed by the pleasure of movement.
Other Penguins find their joy in the challenge of reaching their own potential, whatever that is. For some it has meant running the Boston Marathon, the only U.S. marathon that has qualifying standards. For others, it has meant finding an independence and freedom in their daily runs that expands their limits.
Can there be such a thing, then, as a Penguin athlete? Or an athletic Penguin? Can people who are fighting to lose thirty or forty pounds be athletes? Of course they can! Can people who have waited until their forties to become physically active be athletes? You bet. Can people who finish last in a race be athletes? Yes, they can. And yes, they are.
You might be a penguin if...
- you have to politely (for the third time) tell the men in the policecar moving behind you that No you do not wish a ride.
- you wear your jog bra on top of your singlet. This is especially true if you are male.
- during a race, you keep turning around to see if there is still anybody behind you.
- the rest of the pack is out of sight before you've run 100 yards.
- you meet both the hare AND the tortoise running back towards you doing their cool-down after a race.
- the only reason you don't drop out of a race is that you're embarrassed that the police in the car behind you (closing the course) will see you.
- as you're rounding the corner onto Main Street and the finish line, you overhear the announcer on a microphone to the crowd of 500 saying "we are ASSURED the young lady IS coming in!" (Oh well, at least I was young).
- you recognize all the regular runners on your favorite route from behind.
- you get passed on the uphill by a runner pushing a double baby jog stroller.
- you shoot a 24-shot roll of film during a marathon.
- you make arrangements for a late checkout at the hotel.
- you are more worried about the porta-potty lines than the start line.
- your support crew talks about meeting you for supper, not lunch.
- you have to memorize the route because you know that you will lose the back of the pack.
- the truck picking up the cones is pressing on your behind. (Don't laugh-this actually happened to me!)
- as you pass a course volunteer they ask you, "How many are behind you yet?" and you say "Behind me? Behind? Gosh ... I think two ... Unless they turned around!"
- the awards ceremony is over before you cross the finish line.
These have all been contributed by members of the Penguin Brigade. Please send us your best "You might be a Penguin if…", and we will add it to the site.