Murphy Runs Column: Should runners wear masks?

Murphy Runs hits back at Piers Morgan after his criticism of runners.

‘Panting, wheezing show-offs’ is how the charismatic Piers Morgan recently described runners who don’t wear masks.

He went on to describe all runners as ‘narcissistic’ and compared newbie runners to ‘giant snails’.

I am all for runners choosing to wear masks if they feel this is best for them, but unlike Piers, I think those of us that choose not to can do so without us suddenly turning into a giant snail.

Runners have been criticised since day one of the pandemic, including new runners.

When exercising once a day became law, I was pleased to see a flood of new runners outside and friends on social media starting ‘Couch 2 5k’.

But to those who chose to stay sitting on the sofa like Piers, these runners were just ‘jumping on the bandwagon’. Runners who continued to keep up their running fitness and trained for virtual races were ‘abusing the exercise rule’.

This is probably the perfect time to mention that the World Obesity Federation recently published a report about the overwhelming link between obesity and Covid-19 death rates. A link that could have been avoided.

But back to the mask debate. I know that walkers can feel uncomfortable, pandemic or not, when a runner passes them closely leaving little breathing space.

However, I have taken extra efforts over this last year to give at least two metres of space and more where possible. I run as early as possible to avoid crowds. I no longer run at my favourite spots in Milton Keynes on the weekends because the constant pedestrian dodging is tiresome.

All my trainers are ruined from jumping into mud to let the walker have right of way (despite us both having equal rights outside).

If runners wear masks, then so should smokers and vapers. I bet there isn’t a person reading this who hasn’t inhaled a strangers smoke, vape or illegal substance whilst outside.

It’s also common knowledge that masks become ineffective when wet, so how many mask changes during a 10km run does Piers Morgan advise?

He already fits his own description of a ‘runner’, so I’ll wait for his advice.

Follow Anastasia’s running adventures on Instagram @MurphyRuns

This feature was published in the April and May 2021 issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. Read the full magazine above or by clicking on this link.

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