The Busy Stretch of King = Perfect Running Conditions?

Nate Anderson

I have a question for you: why do you jog down King Street? I’m talking about the hopping part of King—the retail, the restaurants, all that.


Let me back up: I love that area. The sidewalks are made of large, uneven flat stones that look like they were placed in the same fashion as you’d flick a deck of cards at a cup. Watching the girls who try to walk home in their heels after a night out is actually one of my favorite pastimes. Wobbling like a newborn fawn, trying to keep up with "Alexis" or "Madison," they look like they're walking on chopsticks.


"She's got it, she's got it! Wait....wait.... DOWN GOES FRAZIER!"


Why then, would this stretch be one of the most popular places to jog? Without fail, if you stand anywhere on this part of King Street you will see runner after runner jog by in their brand new, neon color-coordinated outfits and matching shoes. There's a part of me that wants to give anyone respect who can run in August at 4 p.m in South Carolina. But the other part of me—the part that likes to make fun of everything that moves—finds it curious that these runners find it necessary to run here.


As a runner myself, this sounds like a nightmare. When I run, or attempt to, the last thing I want is to be around people who are going to judge me on everything they see (kinda like I do). Plus, the sidewalks are so damn crowded, weaving through people can't be good for your time. Top that off with a narrow street full of drivers from Ohio and Texas who are only used to sharing the road with white-tail deer and the occasional opossum, and it becomes something of a comedy of errors.


My only conclusion is that runners who choose to brave all of these perils have one, non-fitness oriented goal in mind: to be seen. Why else would you run down King Street? There are miles and miles of smooth streets with little to no traffic. Just ask me, I know all the good side streets to run on that are as far away from people as possible, leaving me free to jog at a stride that suits me (i.e. like someone getting shot with a taser gun). Plus, I'm usually singing word-for-word some upbeat song that keeps my mind off how much I want to quit...... like Hanson's "Mmmbop." (Laugh if you want, but once you get past the embarrassment of the fact that you know every single word, that song will shave at least 45 seconds off your mile time.)


Then again, I guess if I spent $80 on a pair of shorts at Lululemon then I would want to show them off too. And as ridiculous as it may seem to run down King Street, at least these people are running. They could be in a coffee shop, hipster watching, blog writing, and housing cup after cup of iced tea.


So kudos, or whatever.


Cover photos: King Street from; jogger from Charleston Parks Conservancy