Test Your BRIQ: Which of These People Isn’t Really Running?

By Jae Gruenke | Natural Running Form

Nov 14

Quiz time! Test your Balanced Runner IQ by studying these pictures and sharing in the comments which of the “runners” isn’t really running. Be sure to explain why you think so!

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About the Author

Jae Gruenke, GCFP, is a running technique expert and Feldenkrais Practitioner. Known as a “running form guru,” she is the Founder and CEO of The Balanced Runner™ in New York City and The Balanced Runner UK. She has helped runners from beginner to Olympian improve their form to become pain-free, economical, and fast.

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(24) comments

russell deacon November 15, 2020

pic 2, both hands forward 🙂

SCOTT FORRESTER November 15, 2020

the girl on the white stairs. The rest of the pictures having runners that have forward lean and are in dynamic positions that couldn’t be maintained statically. The girl in the second picture on the white stairs is just standing and lifting one leg.

Laura Thomas November 15, 2020

All of the runners look a bit odd but the second one has both arms forward which does not balance the body when twisting while running. Does not seem possible to run with arms forward.

Nneka Harley-Smith November 15, 2020

I think the girl in the first picture is definitely not running. Her head is too far back; her arms seem to be positioned in a way that wouldn’t help to propel her forward; her left foot is pointed and she seems to be doing a butt kick more than running. I’m also a little dubious about the second one also because of the tense arm position and she looks like she could be posing. But I’m going to stick with the first one. I hope I’m right😊

Matthew Newnham November 15, 2020

I think the girl wearing all black isn’t really running. That’s because both arms are in the same relative position, instead of the arm opposite her planted foot (i.e. her right arm) being further back.

Tony Guttmann November 15, 2020

No. 2. In a balanced stationary position. Vertical with no lean.

Vanessa Stephen November 15, 2020

1st image. To have the Left back foot so high with dorsi flexion would require the L arm to swing forward and counterbalance. If moving forward she would be more or less translating L and R big time in some kind of funky dance move.

    Antony Scott November 15, 2020

    Yes. Exactly this.

David Boze November 15, 2020

Runner #1 and #2.

Runner #1 hair is blown back with a fan or strong wing is blowing in her face.

Runner #2 is running with her arms and fists in the same position.

Larry Alder November 15, 2020

My vote is for #4. While #2 does have two arms forward, that could happen just at mid-stance with shoulders square so I am not sure it is #2 although it could be. To me #4’s counter rotation looks off. #4 looks like with that bent left leg she is just entering or at mid stance and her shoulders have already turned past square so torso is facing to the camera and right arm is more back than would I would expect for someone just entering mid stance. Overall hard to say.

Karen Glennemeier November 15, 2020

Picture 2. Seems impossible to run with no arm swing!

Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton November 15, 2020

It’s the first one, because her back leg can’t be all the way up like that even though she’s at the beginning of the stance. I think she’s jumping down.

Barbara Bartlett November 15, 2020

I also think No. 2 because of the arms but I agree they all look a bit staged. I will be interested to hear the answer.

Jonathan November 15, 2020

For me, pic 3, with the group, is the only one that looks like it contains actual runners. The other 3 all looked staged (with the help of a giant fan in each).
This probably means, however, that pic 3 is the fake!

Umedkumar Sinai November 16, 2020

The girl in the 1st pic – the position of her hands seem awkward; her left foot butt kicking but the knee totally out of place…. I think with such a ‘running form’, anyone would just fall on the ground

Kate Bray November 16, 2020

2nd, both arms equally forward; maybe she’s kumping up or diwn steps on 2 leg?

Helene Bindner November 16, 2020

The lady in all black on the white stairs appears to be a stage photo. She has no twist at all in her torso. Both hands are forward in her midstance.

Beth ODowd November 16, 2020

2…. no counter rotation in upper body to balance lower body movement. But #2 has oddly huge knee flexion.
4 looks like a painful future is in store for her low back and quads!
Fun 😀

Staffan November 16, 2020

Picture No #1
That armswing with her left arm back with also her left leg in the swing phase means no upper counter rotation – that’s not running. It seems like a very efficient way of falling forward in the next picture frame 🙂

Before looking very closely at #1 I thought #2 before I realized that movement happens when her left foot is still raising behind her in the gait cycle, her hands will met when her right arm is on the way forward and her left arm on its way back to counter rotate.

Suzanne L. November 16, 2020

The woman in orange first photo: how does her foot plantar flex like that!?

Dave Bradley November 17, 2020

2. Both hands in front

Tony Konvalin November 17, 2020

Picture #2 as both hands forward – not sure I could run doing this if I tried – well maybe for a step or two

charlotte gould November 20, 2020

I vote for #4. Why? Without getting into too much rhetoric, I believe she is posed to appear to be running, and in doing so, is struggling to balance by using her limbs as levers – ironic! Her shadow is, in my opinion, not her own, creating additional suspicion. Intuitively, I perceive some level of forward motion in other runners. Regarding #2, I believe she has been captured in an awkward mid-stance moment. From my own experience, it’s incredibly hard to get a good shot of a runner, even of a very competent one. Additionally, I am not assuming that any of these runners are technically educated. #1 may be responding to music that moves her (ambient or in her head). Runners can also have all kinds of unconscious quirky, emotionally or otherwise – driven movements, especially if dissociating or failing to focus on form and their body’s response to the ground. The group shot looks like a photo-shopped collage of runners so it’s not particularly telling of any single runner (we can’t see any single runner’s full body, making it pretty hard to judge).

Rebecca Lewis November 22, 2020

#2 Very upright and arms are symmetrical. No contralateral rotations and arm swing. Looks like the butt kick exercise.

Maybe #1? She looks like a child running with the arms hanging quite low. Maybe they are a bit low for mid-late stance. And with the swing leg being very coiled and the forward lean would indicate a fast speed. So I would think she would have her arms a little higher if running faster. But maybe not!! : )

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