Some time ago I adopted the pedestrianism label for my approach to running. Now I’m finally ready to advertise myself as a running guide for exploring Shanghai I’m reconsidering. Why go for a big word when there is a small one, one that I grew up with? What I want to share is running as a way to explore the cityscape and the ‘relaxed’ attitude that requires regarding any exercise, health, training and other ‘sports’ related associations. I adopted an unconventional term, i.c. pedestrianism, and hoped it would provide protection against some of the the mainstream connotations of ‘running’. An alternative strategy is going for a conventional term, jogging, that seems to have acquired loads of negative connotations since its late-60/70s ‘label for the running boom’ (not serious, clueless, exceedingly slow, etc) but recognizably connotes an approach that is ‘relaxed’.
So be it. We Dutch – kudos to Irene Guijt for coming up with the brilliant I(f) I M(ay) B(e) S(o) D(utch), Duncan Green for sharing it – sort of invented the adoption of pejorative terms as a badge of honour. Get rid of those running hangups, come jogging with me.