Porta-Potty Etiquette for Runners

Reposted from Competitor.com

 

You guys, we need to have a talk about what you’re doing in the bathroom.

Not about the technicalities—there are enough articles about how to poop before a race and how to not poop during a race. There’s plenty of handy resources about using your pee color to determine whether you’re dehydrated/how much water you should drink/who you should vote for in the next presidential election.

But no one—and I mean no one—is willing to talk to you about the havoc your bowels are wreaking on the Port-o-John. Great Scott, what are you doing in there?

If I walk into the bathroom at almost any civilized event venue, it’s clean and odor-free. I am all but guaranteed the soles of my shoes will not stick to the floor. I likely will not gag with disgust. At a pre-race portable toilet, not so much. There is pee on the seat. There is pee on the wall. There is a lake of pee on the floor. And that’s just pee—don’t even get me started on the colonic exorcisms that apparently take place in every stall.

 

While doing research for a local magazine piece last month, my paths crossed with the owner of a porta-potty company (he prefers to refer to his work as “waste management,” and yes, he’s heard all the Tony Soprano jokes). After interviewing him about the story I was writing, the conversation shifted.

“You’re a runner?” he asked, pointing at my jacket, which was embroidered with the logo of my favorite race. I nodded—yes, I was a runner. Tony Soprano wrinkled his nose and shook his head:

“Oh, man. When it comes to this industry, runners are the worst.”

He then proceeded to tell me he got the majority of the portable toilet business for local races, because some of his competitors simply turned down the contracts because runners are the worst. For one, race directors tend to underestimate and under-budget for the number of facilities needed, leading to, er, capacity issues—their portos runneth over.

And then there’s the ick factor—cleaning out a potty used by hundreds of nervous runners (and their even more nervous bowels) takes more time and attention than the decontamination process after other events. Runners, it turns out, are gross. Matter that should not end up on the wall somehow ends up on the wall—and also the floor, the seat, the door and the ceiling.

“The ceiling?” I asked.

“The ceiling,” he replied, with a look that clearly conveyed You don’t want to know. The guy has seen some nasty shit. Literally.

Complete original article here