A Brief but Exhaustive Taxonomy of the Running World

I have no smart-ass captions for this. Sorry.

Back in sophomore year of high school, Mr. A. wandered around the front of the room, muttering occasionally funny* and enlightening** things to us through his teeth, and occasionally smacking the overhead projector with a ruler for the purpose of waking us up by causing numerous aneurysms.

Anyway.  Mr. A. made us memorize the taxonomic system of biology, which we did using the following totally sensical mnemonic device:

Kyle Poured Coffee On Fred’s Gym Shorts

…which even now helps me to remember…

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Fish Gynecologist SHAZAM!

But he also gave us what was known as one of the toughest assignments in AAAAALLLLLLL of Podunk Iowa High School’s curriculum: memorizing all of the phyla of the animal kingdom.  This (along with pretty much every little thing that little female Gollum who taught English 10 assigned to us) taught us that sometimes you have to do things that don’t make a lot of sense and probably won’t help you in life.  (Actually, femaleEnglishGollum also taught me how to focus my anger into a tiiiiiny point rightonTeacher’shead and using telekinesis, burn a small hole riiiiight there.) (Also, when she was out of the room once, I learned how to pee in a lady’s handbag.  But I digress.)

Actually, I did learn something useful from Mr. A’s phylum exercise: the world is full of a vast, sprawling, diverse array of life, and one way to better understand it is to organize it into categories with like characteristics.  AND SO, HAVING COMPLETED A RIDICULOUSLY LONG INTRODUCTION, I GIVE YOU:

A BRIEF BUT EXHAUSTIVE TAXONOMY OF THE RUNNING WORLD (mainly sticking to genus and species-like nomenclature here, because neither of us has the energy to write/read a whole g.d. bio textbook tonight, am I right?)

First, the Kingdom of the Non-Runners, for they are important as well, no matter what you may believe:

  • Immobilis Pathus — Sidewalk dwellers who WILL NOT MOVE TO THE RIGHT SIDE because they DON’T UNDERSTAND SOCIAL NORMS OR CUES.
  • Stringulus Osteyogalus — Scary people at yoga class who are in better shape than you will ever be, judging from the fact that you can count their muscle fibers through their skin.
  • Bro-lus Kickballeris — Beer-swilling philistines on the Mall, playing kickball in pastel polo shirts from Vineyard Vines, yelling things like, “Remember that tailgate at UPenn, when I hit that?  Mannnn, did I ever hit that. I tapped it.  I was all over that shit.  Damn, bro, like, I don’t even know, man…”  By now he’s lost his train of thought, but if he keeps going in this vein, you can usually steal his visor and give him a good, hard GOOSE! to the nads before he even has time to put down his Natty Ice and chase you down, which he can’t do anyway because his overdeveloped pecs and chicken legs will cause him to topple over like a clown on one of those mini-bikes.  Just saying.
  • Demoralis Maximus — A member of the “Hater” phylum, these people have not run a step in their lives aside from running to 10th grade home ec class and for some reason want to punish you for it.  They like to say things like, “You know, that’s so bad for your joints. Your body begins its inexorable decline at <insert whatever age you happen to be here>, you know.”  Then they sniff.   “That’s why I don’t run.”  Nooooo, Creampuff, you don’t run because you’re scared/misguided/weak/still harboring complexes about the Presidential Physical Fitness Test.  Actually, I don’t blame you on that last one.

Not to be confused with:

  • Injuris Perpetuus — People who actually do get injured from running, but who are still rather pleasant and choose not to pee all over your campfire, as they say.
  • Supportivus Maximus — Non-runners who still rock and come to your races.  Usually your good hard-working farmer parents who don’t quite understand your nearly-OCD mileage but nod and clap and hand you saltines and towels post-race.


And now, the Running Kingdom:

  • Formis Peculiaris People who run with their bodies in truly painful-looking configurations.
  • Insecuritus Causis — Your big sister, who won five state athletic championships on a daily basis, including some sports you didn’t even know she did, but most certainly including track, and the only reason I mention this is that to this day, even at 5:30 AM out by the majestic Washington Monument, a nagging voice in the base of your brain tells you that if you do four more 1200-meter repeats you just might make state this year, I don’t know, but you might as well try, huh?

Not that you have a complex about this, or anything.

Speaking of high school:

  • Patientis Sanctus — a.k.a. high school track coaches.  They dealt with you when you were young/impatient/chunky/slow/whiny/irritating.  And they did not pee in YOUR handbag, I might add.
  • Komenis Perpetuus — People who will not do a race unless it involves wearing pink and Racing for a Cure.  And filling up the Crescent Trail every Saturday morning.  Not that I’m against Racing for a Cure.  I’m just saying.
  • Wifebeaterus Lebronjamesis — The running cousin to Bro-lus Kickballeris. As the name would suggest, this species cannot run without wearing a beater and oversized basketball shorts.  Grab your training partner and red-rover the shit out of these guys.
  • Neighborus Normalis — The nice lady down the street who jogs a few miles every morning and always gives you a chipper wave and “Hey there!”  Spare the red-rovers.  She’s on your side.
  • Citius Superiorus — Crazy-fast people.  There is nothing to do about or to these people except clutch your pillow at night and dream that they will one day mate with you.
  • NonAcceptus Realitis — Middle-aged men who will not let you pass, even when you are clearly faster than them.  Natural habitat seems to be Georgetown.  You will gaily trot up past their left side, when <heave heave gasp heave> they POUR ON THE GAS, suddenly surging past you and continuing until they think they’ve lost you, but oh no they have not, because you have maintained one pace like a normal person, so here you come again, and there they go again.  You both will continue in this “Pardon me, but if you’d just let me…” “I AM A CHAMPION OF THE UNIVERSE!” vein until he barfs up his spleen or you just take a different route, whichever comes first.

But seriously, buddy.  Do us all a favor and go get a trophy wife/Harley/Ferrari/boner pill prescription/boner.

  • Hottie McKickass — You.


That’s all I got.  You’re welcome.


*”Spontaneous generation is the idea that the Schwan’s truck can be driving down your gravel road and then smack the Easter Bunny and then maggots will just maaaaagically appear! Needless to say, children, this can’t happen, for a number of reasons.”

**”You kids with your music videos.  We used to just have music.  Without the videos.  Because if the song is good, you don’t need VISUAL STIMULATION.”


2 responses to this post.

  1. NonAcceptus Realitis! Man, isn’t he that guy who also keeps you from speed walking in the Metro. He thinks his brisk walk is fast enough.


  2. Posted by C on July 10, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    There’s also the Boasterite Falsius, who claims to run marathons, but, in truth, runs half marathons in the amount of time a reasonably committed person would need to complete a full marathon.


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