Running Outlaws

Alex Mesa is well-known in his Miami Beach neighborhood because of his penchant for running backwards. Although he’s been doing it for years, this week he was ticketed by police for “disrupting traffic.”

Alex isn’t the only runner to have a run-in with the law. Previous desperadoes have been stopped for running in a blizzard, running in a hoodie, and running while looking like a bum. And that’s not all. A New York City councilman wants to ban costumed characters in the city, which would not only leave Spiderman stranded in Hoboken, but would have a detrimental effect on costumed road racers.

This crackdown on runners will also leave law enforcement authorities with their own predicament: what to do about the dozen or so “Run from the Cops” 5ks they sponsor. Thanks to a tip from Jill of JoggingJeans.com, I’ve discovered such races in Illinois, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and (gasp!) Florida, where the Jail Break 5k will be held on April 27. These races often involve runners dressing up as old-timey convicts while being chased by runners dressed up as police officers.

And do I espy McGruff the Crime Dog on the far left in this photo?

Let’s hope runners can continue being on the run without being on the run.