The Unspoken Rules of Being a Badass:
1. First rule of being a badass. A badass does not talk about being a badass. Period.
So many runners break this rule. It is the most important badass rule. Even if you are a badass, stating it to others, automatically disqualifies you from being a badass! There is no exception to this rule.
It’s fine to post to social media about your run/race result and how you placed or finished. It’s not ok to call yourself a badass in that same status update or hashtag. Our friends are extremely praiseworthy when we share our accomplishments on social media. If they read your update and you did something even borderline badass you can be sure one of them will anoint you ‘Badass’ in your comments.
However, badass is an often overused phrase even when others use it to respond to something you’ve posted on Facebook. It’s almost become code for “Good Job!”
True badasses are called badasses behind their backs when others are talking about them without their knowledge.
Let someone else annunciate your badass coronation!
2. A badass does not try to be a badass or look tough. A badass simply is a badass. A badass stays true to themselves, always. This means being themselves for themselves, and not being fake to impress others..
This one is pretty self explanatory! Be you!! If you cheat, cut courses, hop in vans during a race to get to the finish, or exaggerate/lie about your achievements to sell books or garner sponsorships then you are not a badass. Instead you are just a very bad person.
3. A badass does not give up. Badasses will always push themselves for the better, no matter how hard it gets.
Every runner you’ve ever considered a badass has had one thing in common, that’s that they never give up, no matter how tough it gets, or the unseen obstacles and hurdles that might pop up and slap them in the face along the way.
4. A badass is not a jerk! A badass does not prey on the weak. A badass shows kindness in return to those who are kind.
We all know sub-3 marathoners, elites and even non-elites, that have amazing running resumes, but who are simply jerks to others, and runners they consider ‘beneath’ them, by refusing to take photos, acknowledge, etc. You aren’t a badass if you are jerk to others, period.
5. A badass knows his or her limits. Don’t be stupid! You’re not Superman, you’ll die if you jump off a building.
If you end up in the ambulance week in and week out before, after, or during a race then you are just being stupid, putting yourself and others in danger. Don’t be a dumb-ass!
6. A badass does not make enemies or go looking for fights. They don’t fight fights that aren’t worth fighting either.
Fights might find a badass, but that’s usually out of jealous or envy from the other party. A badass won’t go looking for a fight, but he or she sure knows how to end one or is smart enough to walk away from something stupid (see #4 and #5).
7. A badass doesn’t have to be a certain age. There are no age restrictions or expiration dates to being a badass.
It doesn’t matter if you are 12 or 92, a badass is a badass. Although if they are a minor you might simply want to refer to them as a “bad donkey!”
8. A badass isn’t always the fastest or strongest. However, a badass will grit & grind and give it all he or she has to achieve a desired result or help someone else out in need.
There is no BQ or shiny 100-mile buckle required to be a badass. Often times the most impressive badasses are those that have overcome hardships, bad luck, minimal talent, a disability, or something else that the elite runner never has to endure or even consider along their way to glory. You can totally be a badass by sacrificing your race to help a fallen runner or help another runner finish that likely would not have finished without your encouragement, support, and company.
9. A badass is not afraid of a challenge or failure. Most badasses have no noticeable fear because they aren’t afraid to fail. They’ve failed before and realized it wasn’t the end of their inquisitiveness. This enables them to take on and often knock off major challenges that others wouldn’t dare attempt.
Badasses have scars, and those scars are often from failures, messing up, or misstepping. A badass will take on epic things because he or she knows that true failure comes from a lifetime of regrets of not trying or attempting to maximize their talents or gifts.
10. A badass never takes him or herself too seriously
These are simple and easy rules to follow to help determine if someone else is in fact a badass.
Once you start calling yourself a badass, a blatant violation of rule #1, you become a Kanye West-like caricature of running grandiloquence.
When that happens, no matter if you are the greatest, or a tough mofo, you automatically will rub people the wrong way and trigger them to pick you apart or look for reasons to counter your self-proclamation.
Clint Eastwood never had to grab a megaphone and tell the world that he was a “Badass,” but almost every human on the planet knows that Eastwood was, and remains to this day, a badass of epic badassery.
A runner’s legs and drive, not their mouth, determine one’s badassery!
Siri chimes in with her thoughts on what constitutes a badass. You’ll also note in the graph above the extreme usage uptick of the term in the past decade.
The term originated in the United States in the 1950’s as a slang term combining the words bad+ass according to the British Dictionary.
badass (n.): A tough, uncompromising, or intimidating person: one of them is a real badass, the other’s pretty friendly
A formidably impressive person: she is so wonderful, so sweet, so rad, so amazing; she’s a badass
badassery (n.): behavior, characteristics, or actions regarded as intimidatingly tough or impressive. See: Seal Team 6; people saving other people from sharks; most things done by Samuel L. Jackson
Don’t judge anyone too harshly for calling him or herself a badass. They likely are just uninformed of these unspoken rules and have likely fallen into the trap of our current over-usage of the phrase. Now you can simply point them to these rules by sharing this post.
[Rules 1-6 via Urban Dictionary. Rules 7-10 and all commentary by Joshua Holmes]
Top Photo – Badass Legends of Running: Ted Corbitt, Gordy Ainsleigh, Steve Prefontaine, Meb Keflezighi