I think running is awesome. I also think TV is awesome. And I think when the two come together you get some of the very best sitcom moments. Because while running is a serious sport, it also comes with plenty of funny, embarrassing or just plain weird moments, and I can appreciate them much better from the comfort of my couch. If you’re a runner, I bet you can relate to at least one of these moments, and even if you’re not, they’re still pretty hilarious. Here are some of my favorites:
When Rachel and Phoebe hit the park together, Rachel has serious second-hand embarrassment for Phoebe’s running style— picture: flailing limbs and barreling through the crowd like she’s on fire. But when Phoebe criticizes her pretentious running attitude, Rachel gives Phoebe’s way a go and discovers how good it can feel to just run like a kid. Until she runs right into a police horse. Oh, Rach.
Elaine hosts marathoner Jean-Paul Jean, a runner infamous for having overslept for an Olympic race. Obsessed with keeping it from happening again, Jerry puts himself in charge of getting Jean-Paul to the NYC marathon on time. When Kramer’s hot tub causes a power outage in Jerry’s building (long story), the alarm doesn’t go off and Jean-Paul over-sleeps again. But he manages to make it to the race and even takes the lead. That is, until he mistakes Kramer’s hot tea for water and scalds himself. I thought my worst run was the time my iPod died halfway through but I guess it could be worse. Poor Jean-Paul.
When Marshall has to drop out of the NYC marathon, Barney decides to take his place—without a day of training. As he puts it, “Here’s how you run a marathon. Step one, start running. Step two…there is no step two.” He finishes the marathon surprisingly easily and heads home on the subway, waving his medal around in everyone’s faces. When he gets to his stop, he stands up to leave but collapses on his unconditioned legs. He has no choice but to ride the rails end to end, a fair punishment for underestimating the superhuman feat that is marathon training, am I right?
As part of his police training, Andy has to run a couple miles around the track. Out of shape, he perfectly summarizes how I think we’ve all felt at some point about running: “Oh my god, it’s so hot. It’s horrible. I’m gonna die. I’m so tired. Everything hurts. Running is impossible.” Well said, my friend.
Gadget-head Sheldon tags along with Penny on her run and can’t understand why she isn’t outfitted with a heart-rate monitor, pedometer and iPod. Irritated, he asks her how she runs. She just shrugs and says, “I just run till I’m hungry and then stop for a bear claw.” That’s my kind of girl.
More running antics from Jerry and company. Back in high school, Jerry defeated his rival in a race by getting a head start that no one but his competition seemed to notice. He agrees to a rematch, but when Kramer’s car backfires, Jerry mistakes it for the starting pistol and gets another head start, winning the race. No one likes a cheater, Jerry.
After finding out that Toby can run a 7-minute mile, Dwight declares he can run faster. Specifically, “to give you a reference point, I’m somewhere between a snake and a mongoose. And a panther.” He forces Pam to time him with a stopwatch while he runs around the building. Instead, she pretends a digital thermometer is a stopwatch, watches a few laps and then sneaks back inside, leaving Dwight to run in eternal circles. Serves him right for thinking he was as fast as a mongoose.
On the kids’ first day back to school, Phil thinks Claire is upset about her empty nest and needs a distraction. He challenges her to a race, despite Claire being a serious and competitive runner. She easily bests him but lets him win in the end because she knows he’s the one having the hard time adjusting to the kids being gone. Only lovable Phil Dunphy could get a girl to throw in the towel like that.
In another gem from the show that sparked countless GIFs, Ann is trying to explain to Chris that their relationship failed because he tried force his habits on her. She particularly hated having to run with him, because, as she puts it, “Jogging is the worst. I know it keeps you healthy, but God, at what cost?!” Been there, girl.