I help out at a Learn to Run clinic at one of the running stores in my city. I enjoy seeing people improve and people that say 'hey, this is something I want to do for me', and admire that they want to come out and get into better shape. I think it takes a significant amount of guts to come out and try to get into shape, particularly if someone has not been terribly active before.
After our last run, a bunch of us were talking, and we talked about jerks that we come across when on a group run with the Learn to Run groups. Not people in the group, but when we are out and there are people saying stupid things, or to imitate us running (I guess that's what they are doing anyway). And it bothers me because the people I'm running with are working really hard, and worked really hard to get where they are, and to have people belittle that is beyond frustrating. Most of the time it's something that people can shrug off, but one of the girls that also helps with the group was saying that when she was running with someone in the summer some jerk said "pick it up fatty" when they went by, and she had no clue what to say. She did talk to the woman she was running with, but I think that's one of those things that would be difficult to just ignore and shrug off, and it's hard to respond to in the moment. And while I can say that she's probably doing more for her health than this jerk, and that she is doing really well, and working hard, and she's accomplished a lot, I think if you're starting out, it's hard to believe that. I think it's easy, after you've been running for a while, to forget how hard it is when you start, and how you need that support group, and it's easier to shrug off jerk-y comments, when you're comfortable and confident with your abilities, but, it's a lot harder when you're just starting and your run is just a little faster than what some people walk.
So my question is - if you've ever run into a jerk when runnning, what do you do? What did you do when you were first starting - did it bother you? Did you shrug it off?