“Listen up, you rotten runners!”

I was offended when a state official showed up at a recent Saturday morning Manito Running Club gathering and used the phrase that is the title of this blog post. He made us feel like we’re bottom-feeding, low-life scum ruining things for everyone.MRC haranguing

He said that beside being famous for taking up the entire road and forcing cars aside, we are causing higher taxes for everyone and ruining our transportation infrastructure.

Since he spoke to our group, I’ve been cursed a half dozen times while out running. The anger and condemnation seems way out of proportion to me.

What’s happening is that many runners wear studded shoes or attachments in snowy conditions to improve traction. Below are a couple photos of these.traction implement 1

traction implement2

Apparently, these shoe traction implements are tearing up our streets (and sidewalks) the way studded snow tires do, but with far worse effects. The state DOT website shows damage we’re supposedly causing in the Spokane area alone.undamaged street

Cora Street, a very popular route for runners, at the beginning of winter.damaged street

The same section of Cora at present.

undamaged sidewalk

The sidewalk above, photographed last spring, leads to a park popular with runners.damaged sidewalk

The same sidewalk today.

The governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, held a news conference, widely broadcast, in which he urged runners to stop wearing their traction implements. The spending to repair runner-caused damage has skyrocketed to the point that the state budget is in turmoil and large tax increases are needed immediately unless the damage stops now.Jay Inslee

(Photo by NPR)

After a long discussion, the Manito Running Club decided to abandon its tradition of meeting at the park that is its namesake and convene well outside town at Riverside State Park so that running routes can be done on trails.

After only one run, a state park official showed up at our next gathering with the below photo. He began his address with, “Listen to me, you worthless runners!”Trail rut

On a positive note, the Manito Running Club has been hired at very good pay to run single file for a few miles along Highway 2 north of town. A construction company is saving a lot of money hiring us instead of digging a trench for a new pipeline.