SOAR – Sort Of About Running.


People who know me well will know that I hate TLAs (being ironic here) because they confuse and also lessen the impact of what is being said. TLAs are Three Letter Acronyms; acronyms are words which are formed from the first letter of words, and which are pronounced as other words. For example, CAD (Computer Aided Design) or WHO (World Health Organisation). People often refer abbreviations like BBC or DVD as acronyms, but they are not because they cannot be pronounced as a word. They are initialisations.

Now what has this got to do with running I hear you say, well I would except for the fact that you are reading this online and are probably 100s of miles away and I may well be asleep. In the world or running we have some great FLAs (four letter acronyms) RICE (rest, ice, compression & elevation) and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), but that is not what I want to talk about.

Last week I was recording a video interview for the December issue of RUN Magazine from Trailrunningman. I was talking to Colin Kirk-Potter, Run Venture Trail Running Hub, and being ex-military he is rather fond of acronyms and initialisations. Their use in the conversation neatly illustrated my point that they confuse and lessen the impact of what is being said.  One of them was OMM, which caused the pedant in me to worry about whether it was an acronym or an initialisation, but that is my problem. The OMM is a running event and unless you know that you could be confused about what Colin was talking about. Even if you know that you might not get the full picture. OMM stands for Original Mountain Marathon which gives you a lot more information. Original suggests it might be old; in fact it had its 50th anniversary this year. Mountain suggests it might be tough; it is. And Marathon tells you it is a distance race. So ditching the acronyms gives a richer experience.

The other abbreviation he used was KIA, which perhaps truly illustrates that the use of acronyms and initialisations lessens the impact; it means Killed in Action. Colin was talking about people in his unit who had lost their lives serving our country.

It was a fascinating interview that covered all sorts of running: running in the fells, running on a ship, running along a yellow line in an army camp in Belfast, running on roads, not running, running on Dartmoor, mindful running and a lot more.

If you want to see it you will have to buy the December issue of the e-magazine (due out 15/12/17) or take out a subscription.

I will sign off by saying TTFM and I don’t mean Two Tone Frequency Modulation


One thought on “SOAR – Sort Of About Running.

  1. integratedexpat says:

    Good practice is to say/write it in full first time, then use the initials later. Strange that I would recognise the initialisation MIA, but not KIA, but I would both say and read them in full, so they’re just a way of taking up less space on the page, not necessarily in my brain. Same thing with WHO; I always say the whole thing to myself, as I do with OMG, WTF and any number of other handy abbreviations. However, presumably your brain is able to take in one of these ‘words’ at a glance and process the meaning immediately. Also, if you work with engineers, CAD is a really useful way of reducing the mouthful it would be otherwise, so not all these things are so terrible after all. And some of them are perfectly lovely; I’ve always had a weakness for SWALK. I wonder how many people remember that one? And TTFN always reminds me of listening to the Jimmy Young show on the radio.

    Liked by 1 person

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