What made you run?

I mean, physically run.

When @cheem posted this video in the cover songs thread, it got me thinking about how rarely those of us in first worlds actually have to run anymore.

Maybe a good thread can get going on this – what’s happened to you that forced you to run? Not to like, catch a bus, but a time when you felt you had to run?

When I was 13, I was chased by a bully – him on his bike, me on foot – who’d often threatened to beat me up. When I got tired and stopped to face him, he stopped too, then shrugged and walked away. That video brought back my memory of that day.


I was out around 10 pm now many years ago in my neighborhood at the time, which was I guess not the greatest neighborhood. I was taking pictures at night for a project near an overpass so I had walked out there. I got the usual “hey need a ride?” kind of question several times but then as I was walking a car approached me from the front (I was facing the traffic), a white pickup truck, and the passenger door swung open almost as soon as the car slowed down enough to approach. I had a couple of feet between me and whoever was in the passenger seat and I just bolted like a spooked horse. Ran until I was tired then eventually headed towards my home. No idea if my fear was justified or not, but a woman was kidnapped from a gas station on that street later in the year.


Probably the time I ran hardest was when my family and I were chased by an angry bull elephant in the Thai rainforest. That was 30+ years ago, trying to think about something more recent.


When my daughter was a toddler and she bolted from me in a hotel parking lot, heading straight for the access road to the interstate.


Woah… good instincts, I’d say.

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You’re kidding. I mean, I do believe you. Good instincts!

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Phew… well, parental instincts saved the day!

(I think I’m starting to see a pattern here.)


I hope more folks share. It’s already been very, real…

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(Nerfing my entry, cuz kinda close to bus leaving)

Times I had to run. Let’s see.

Chased by neighbor’s dog as a kid.

Fishing pole getting pulled into water.

Important paper of some sort blowing away.


“Chased” may be stretching it. It’s possible, but we did not look back.

We’d been hiking up a hillside path near a popular clay lick. There was copious evidence of elephants, as there often is there. Their round feet create weird oval footprints, and they drop piles round poop like deer. Only the dropping are mostly undigested sticks and splintered bamboo, and they are about a foot in diameter. They look more than anything like wicker cannonballs.

Anyway, we had been discussing that the footprints and cannonball piles in this area were particularly large when a fifty-foot tree above us on the path came crashing to the ground. All I or my mother ever saw was the canopy of the tree, but my father walked around it to see what was going on and then yelled something incoherent about “Huge tusks yellow!” but also “Run!”

We’d had a lazy uphill hike, probably half an hour. We were back in the car in about 5 minutes. If I remember correctly I had bone bruises on both heels afterward.


That is one robust digestive tract!


Running for a plane is definitely a different level of panic. Also, last bus/train out of scary-town.


I remember another one.

I was walking through the woods in Wisconsin and a fucking Cobra popped out of the bushes and hissed at me! I took off like a bat out of hell, got 100 feet away until my smart mammal brain realized, “Hey! Cobras don’t live in Wisconsin!”

But hognose snakes sure as heck do, which resemble cobras when threatened. I walked back, and it was still there, hissing at me. Super cool. I let him be after a few moments marveling at him.


Hell’s bells, I’d run too. Ya never know!


very '90s “giant skinhead demands i give him my boots” scene

somewhat more mundane attempted mugging a few years later, dumb kids but there were two of them

no need to fight when escaping also means you win


Proper knife fighting form is to fkn’ sprint the moment you realize someone’s attacking you with a knife.


funny how nothing like that has happened to me since then

i carry a lot more cash around, and couldn’t run for shit now

but older people are sort of invisible to the young and tough


I can’t recall what made me run, but I can definitely note a pattern/phenomenon with it:

It’s like being through the looking glass: the Red Queen talks of running as fast as you can just to stay in the same place. It’s like I can’t run faster, but I am getting nowhere. When you’re trying to outrun something, it’s not a pleasant feeling.


Reminds me of a dream I had when I was quitting smoking. I realized I was falling towards a black hole. By the time I realized this I knew I was in the Ergosphere of the black hole, but not quite yet to the event horizon.

And I realized “If I could go the speed of light I might be able to get away, but I have mass, so at best I can stay where I am.”


Reminded me of a dream too, or rather, of a feeling I used to have in a lot of different dreams, that of trying to run, but not being able to move much somehow, like being immersed in mud.

I wonder what’s changed in my life that’s stopped that from happening in my dreams…