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This kid won the NYC Marathon with a 'NOBODY POOP' sign

The struggle is real for marathon runners.

Tarō Gomi’s seminal children's book told us that “everybody poops.” A child watching the New York City Marathon challenged that concept to its very core:

Marathon. Pooping. Happens. It’s a rite of passage. At some point in time, every runner has pooped during a marathon. Sometimes even professionals poop while racing. This very good kid had a simple message for runners to watch out, take stock of their situation, and save their race as well as their pants.

The “don’t poop yourself” advice was rife during the marathon:

These two signs tapped into something obvious: We all worry about pooping ourselves in public. Runners are particularly susceptible to this phenomenon:

The topic of avoiding run poops is so widespread that Runner’s World wrote an entire piece this year about how runners can avoid pooping themselves in public, and it’s more scientific than you’d think. It involves changing your food, training habits, and even run style — all in an effort not to poop.

I get running now in a way I didn’t before. I’ll always marvel at people who can run a marathon and the dedication it takes to make it to that point — but I’ll also appreciate the literal intestinal fortitude it takes not to poop in front of a crowd. Runners, you’re the real heroes.