David Moseley

When times are tights

2015-10-09 12:00

David Moseley

Earlier this year I spent a week working at the Absa Cape Epic, the eight-day mountain bike race that moves itself and its riders around the Western Cape.

Most mornings were used as a recovery session from the night before, while in the afternoon I ran around trying to interview various stage winners and other interesting folk. The rest of the day myself and a large team of hacks (“journalists” in journalist-talk) from around the world sat in a sweltering “press room” filing copy.

Every early-evening at the Epic, as the chaos of the day started to wind down, the race commentators would saunter into the media centre, looking for someone or other, before going on a run.

Every early-evening my lunch also came back to haunt me thanks to one of the commentators insisting on wearing a pair of skimpy tights for his run. Not the long kind that go down to the ankles, but the short, short, two-sizes-too-small kind that hug with the intensity of cling film on a cucumber.

As Mr Commentator ambled through the centre, journalists ducked for cover, some diving out the window, with an unlucky few stuck in their chairs as eyes-to-eye conversations started. Many were stunned into silence, words and other things stuck on the tip of their tongues.

Undoubtedly, it was the hardest part of my Epic experience – an impressive feat when you consider there are nearly 1 200 riders wearing tights daily. At the time I remember thinking to myself, “surely these can’t be a thing”. Oh, how misinformed I was.

After a few months of trauma counselling I managed to put the whole sordid affair behind me… until I ran the Cape Town Marathon a few weekends ago.

Plodding along happily with my pal (in respectable running shorts, mind), my marathon changed for the worse when a seemingly normal gentleman ran up beside me and started to natter away.

Runners are very friendly, and talking to a complete stranger is one of the best ways to kill time in a marathon. I started to reply to my fellow marathoner, but as I turned my head I noticed that his running shorts were, in fact, running tights. Hello budgies!

I immediately attempted to run away, but this fella was slightly fitter and very determined to have a chat. In what essentially amounted to sexual assault of my senses he followed me around the course for about 32km, salami snuggly packed away for his post-race picnic, as I longed for the glory days of the more modest poly shorts.

Used to be a time when it was just cyclists who would shove their hand pumps in your face while they walked around the coffee shop, but now runners are getting in on the act too, seemingly oblivious to the fact that tights are best for junior school productions of Peter Pan and little else.   

Obviously, with this being 2015 and all, people can wear what they want, when they want. But real men should keep the tight tights for the swimming pool or Clifton this summer, and certainly not the supermarket, as one hairy-legged runner did last night, proudly wandering the aisles of the local in his little pants having apparently already plucked some wors from the fridge.

It’s scary enough that chocolate reindeers already fill the shelves. We don’t need a reminder of what happens when mommy kisses Santa Claus.

Guys, runners, fitness fundis, please say no to tights. Do it for the children. Do it for Madiba. Just wear shorts. It’s the right thing to do.

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

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