Tired of Running

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"No more running. I aim to misbehave."
Malcolm Reynolds, Serenity
"No, I'm tired of running! Did Braveheart run away? Did Payback run away?"
Homer Simpson, The Simpsons

Sometimes it's easier to run. Especially if there are people chasing you who want to capture or hurt or kill you. And especially if these people are stronger or greatly outnumber you and to face them is to give up your life or freedom. In these cases, it's a lot easier to run.

But taking the easy way out is not always the best solution. Living a life on the run can be stressful and demeaning. There comes a time when a character grows tired of running. They decide to stand their ground and fight (or surrender in some circumstances) even though the odds of winning are slim. This can be portrayed as very brave, very stupid, or both. Still there is no denying that there is something admirable about a person choosing to face their fears. Notably, it works a lot of the time... but not always.

Sometimes it may not be the enemy that the person is fleeing, but destiny itself.

See also Do Not Go Gentle, Rousing Speech. For the video game mechanic, see Sprint Meter.

Examples of Tired of Running include:

Anime and Manga

  • In the first episode of Martian Successor Nadesico, Akito goes out to distract the Jovians while the Nadesico launches. He spends a lot of time just running before he says, "The hell with this!", turns around and starts beating on them with his Rocket Punch.
  • In both movie and book of Howl's Moving Castle, Howl admits to Sophie that he feels this way. In the movie, it works out well for him. In the book, it doesn't at first, as he goes completely in the opposite direction and becomes a bit too aggressive for his own good.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist manga and second anime, in one scene, Alex Louis Armstrong says about his conviction to stays with Mustang.

Alex: The military's methods were unconscionable, of that I was certain. But I deserted. I turned my back on on my soldiers. I should have remained on the battlefield and fought this wrong!! Ever since I fled from the Ishvalan front, Not a day has gone by that I felt ashamed of straying from my values and giving up. And now that I am on the battlefield once again. How can I put my tail between my legs and flee!?


Fan Fiction

  • One Fictional Document in Kyon: Big Damn Hero details what to do if you're Tired of Running.
  • Fauna in DC Nation makes "no more running" part of her superheroing motive. She may be too much of a Granola Girl to ever be entirely comfortable with vigilante work, but the alternative of being afraid of her shapeshifting and looking over her shoulder all the time for Luthor is even less appealing.


  • The Matrix: Throughout the movie, Neo is repeatedly told that anyone who has fought an Agent has been killed, and that he should run away from them. He follows this trope (without actually saying anything) in the subway station when he decides to stop running from Smith, turning and fighting him instead. He actually manages to defeat Smith, but defeating an Agent is meaningless, as Smith simply body-hops to another person, so Neo ends up running away anyway.
  • Star Trek: First Contact: After the Borg invade the Enterprise, Picard refuses to engage the self-destruct and evacuate the ship.

Picard: We've made too many compromises already, too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn HERE! This far, no further!

    • It turns out to be a subversion: Instead of a rousing fight and the destruction of the Borg, Lily openly compares Picard to Captain Ahab, convincing him that he's obsessed with gaining revenge on the Borg for assimilating him earlier, and he decides to evacuate the Enterprise and blow it up after all.
  • In "Centurion", before climax skirmish with the Picts. Dias even says "I don't know about you, but I'm tired of running" just before Lock and Load Montage.
  • Right before the final battle sequence of the Firefly movie Serenity, Malcolm Reynolds makes a Rousing Speech to his crew, telling them that he's finished fleeing from the Alliance and is ready to stand and fight, so that there can be justice for everyone the Alliance has hurt while trying to "make people better."
  • In Jumanji, Alan spends most of the film running from manhunter Van Pelt. Towards the end of the film, Alan is held at gunpoint by Van Pelt. When asked why he doesn't run when given the chance, Alan replies his father always told him to face his fears. Ironically Aptly, Alan's father and Van Pelt are played by the same actor.
    • Likely more a case of layered meaning than irony given how Alan, as a child, found his father quite intimidating. He's not only standing up to Van Pelt here.
      • The hunter from the darkest wild makes you feel just like a child... The resemblance was quite intentional.
  • In Apocalypto, once Jaguar Paw reaches the forest while running from the bad guy Mayans, it's Took a Level in Badass time: "I am Jaguar Paw. This is my forest. And I am not afraid."
  • Ash seems to get tired of running at the end of each Evil Dead film, but by the beginning of the next, he becomes a witless coward again.
  • In 'The 13th Warrior' Helfdane the Fat, one of the older warriors, has been wounded while fighting deep into a cave system with no apparant way out except for through the horde of neanderthal-like 'wendol' chasing them. He staggers at one point, then gets back up and says to the protagonist: "I've run about as far as i care to. *coughs up blood* Run along now, little brother. *spits blood, smiles* Today was a good day." Offscreen and read between the lines; he then holds the thin passageway for as long as he can before he dies.
    • Barely heard, just below the sound of the dialogue in the very next scene, you can hear Helfdane shouting, some weapon on weapon metal-crashing, and finally, a scream as he is killed.
  • "...I'm so tired of being afraid all the time..."
  • A Knight's Tale. "I will not run! I am a knight!"
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Aragorn gives this speech to Sauron through the Palantír, setting himself up as bait in the hope that Sauron's distraction will allow Frodo to complete his mission.

Aragorn: Long have you hunted me. And long have I eluded you. No more. Behold! The Sword of Elendil!



  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: In Cestus Deception, one of the guerrillas sums it up as "Resta sick to death of backin up. Resta not backin up no more."
  • In Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw, Bluntschli has been on his feet for three days straight without sleep, low on food and morale, has been running for his life the past day or more, and finally makes it to "shelter" in Raina's bedroom, where he holds her at gunpoint, hoping he can hide here from the soldiers who pursue him. Halfway through the scene he caves, points out that his gun doesn't even have any ammo... and then they hear soldiers entering the house. Bluntschli tells Raina to hide her eyes, as it'll all be over in a minute - but of course she has a wild bout of heroism and finds a way to hide him.
  • In John Ringo's Posleen War Series novel Gust Front, this is one of the reasons given for why The Six Hundred defended Washington, DC, after a horrific rout, compounded by Darhel interference and loads of General Failures, shredded US forces.
  • In Cast of Corbies by Mercedes Lackey Free Bard Magpie says this about the Church. In her case this means staying for her part in a play not a fight.
  • Animorphs book "The Message" had the Animorphs tire of running (swimming, actually) from Visser Three and opted to go down fighting instead of being picked off one by one. It was only due to a last-second save by a whale that they didn't all get killed.
  • In one of the Dinotopia books, an entire crew of pirates becomes instant pacifists during a Heel Face Turn because of this. The Professor of the crew even gives a short speech to this effect.
  • In Child of the Hive, Sophie builds mental shields to prevent the Hive getting into her brain. Eventually she decides that the only way to be free is to confront the Hive, turning their mental connection into her greatest weapon.
  • Cal Leandros and his brother decide to stop running from his Auphe relatives and settle down in NYC at the beginning of the series. As it turns out, running did them no good anyway, as the Auphe could track Cal anywhere, any time.
  • Rather surprisingly (not least to himself), Rincewind does this in Interesting Times:

Rincewind had always relied on running away. But sometimes, perhaps, you had to stand and fight if only because there was nowhere left to run.

  • Discussed, to some extent, in Tom Clancy's Clear and Present Danger (the book, not the film). The situation: the American special forces squad are being pursued by a 200-man army of druglord enforcers, who are well-armed but of questionable fighting quality. At one point during the pursuit Chavez, the POV soldier, wonders to himself why they don't stage an ambush or two on the pursuing soldiers, when the pursuers were still operating in small groups. A few well-placed ambushes could've broken the mercenaries' morale, whereas continuing to run could only bring in more reinforcements on the mercenaries' side. Later on, they do stage counterattacks, but by that point it's too late to heavily affect the mercs.

Live Action Television


Michael: Are you ready for this?
Lincoln: Been waiting years.
Michael: Good to hear it. Because today's the day we stop running.

  • Although we haven't really seen her much while she was on the run, and she didn't seem to have one specific enemy she was fleeing, Vala Mal Doran of Stargate SG-1 does this. Daniel later explains this choice to her when she has amnesia:

Daniel Jackson: If I let you go, I know you're going to make yourself disappear. You've been running so long, it's almost second nature to you. You don't remember it, but you made a decision to stop running. It's over. Now it's time to come home.

  • Between the first two seasons of Fringe, Peter boasts that they're done tracking bad guys after they killed and will be on offensive from now on. They proceed in the second season to basically follow the trails of deaths again, culminating with Peter's kidnapping. Hey, they get him back, but that's still acting in defending with your self-designated king lost to you for a while... and losing your queen in the process.
  • In Lexx, after they've ran away half a season from an unstoppable end of the Universe, Stanley and the crew finally decide to stop running to an obvious coward's death and make a stand. Unfortunately, it was a tad too late by then. For that Universe, at least.
  • There's lots of running in the new Doctor Who. When the Doctor stops running, bad guys start worrying.


  • The song "Runnin'" by The Pharcyde deals with this issue. The chorus repeats, "Can't keep running away... (Run Run)"
  • The song "My Wife" by the Who, although he is not so darn tired of running that he'll face his wife, instead he'll lay down on the floor to get some rest so he can get up and run some more.
  • The song "Easier to Run" by Linkin Park talks about how it is a lot easier to run from your problems instead of choosing to face them head on.


  • In Mass Effect 2, Shepard visits the Migrant Fleet, the traveling home of the quarians. The quarians are a people who lost a Robot War to their own creations, and have spent the last three hundred years wandering, nomadic. Admiral Shala'Raan reveals that there's a growing movement among the fleet to return to the homeworld and fight - even though as things stand that would be suicide.

"We grow tired of wandering the stars, Shepard. We want our world back. We have paid enough for our mistake."

    • Depending on the order you played in, this may come across as unnecessary after Legion explains that the Geth would be happy to let the Quarians return... if they'd stop attacking them.
  • In Final Fantasy Dissidia, the Onion Knight finally decides to stop running away from his fights...and then kicks the Cloud of Darkness' ass.
    • In a rather surprising twist, one would be well to notice that Sephiroth flees the party several times in Final Fantasy VII. However, it should also be noted that had he faced them at the time, he almost would have certainly killed them.
    • The one time you DO finally fight him (ignoring Bizzaro and Safer Sephiroth), it's scripted so that you beat him on the first attack. With an Omnislash, at that.

Western Animation

  • In the Season 2 finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Zuko and Iroh find themselves surrounded by Azula and her guards. After Iroh explains how he got the nickname "The Dragon of the West" he manages to blow the wall and escape. Urging Zuko to jump also, Zuko replies, "No! It's time I faced Azula!" Zuko gets caught of course. It was probably a mistake to expect Azula to play fair.
  • Parodied in the SpongeBob SquarePants movie where Spongebob and Patrick are confronted by Badass Dennis. Spongebob tells Patrick to run. Patrick's reply: "No. I'm tired of running. If we run now we'll never stop—" His sentence is cut short when Dennis punches him in the face and sends him flying. His response after that: "RUN, Spongebob!"
    • Another Spongebob had Mrs. Puff horrified at the consequences of her giving him an undeserved driver's license - she imagines him ruining the town and decides she'll have to change her identity and start fresh somewhere else...then she resolves "...no. Not again!"
    • In another episode, "Prehibernation Week", Spongebob promises his friend Sandy that he'd play with her everyday until she had to go into hibernation. Her ideas of "playing" turn out to be a series of painful activities such as a game of "Find the Hay in the Needlestack." He eventually decides to run away from her for the rest of the episode and go into hiding, but at the very end he confronts her rather than running from her and lets her know that her idea of "playing" together just ins't his cup of tea. But in the middle of his explanation she falls asleep and starts hibernating.
  • In the Terminator parody episode of Drawn Together, Wooldoor Sockbat makes a Dead Baby Comedy version of this trope:

Wooldoor: Like Paul McCartney's ex-wife... we're not running anymore!

  • In Transformers Generation 1, the Predacons versus Unicron's big brother. Tornedron sucks the life out of anything on contact, and grows to ever larger and more terrible monster forms... unecessarily, since it doesn't need to fight to kill anything in its path. The assembled good guys and bad guys have just been trying to survive, when:

Headstrong: "I detest fleeing. I would rather die fighting!"
Razorclaw: "He is right! Predacons, unite!"
[The Predacons combine into Predaking.]
Predaking: "Tornedron, face Predaking! To the end!"

    • As for how it turned out, they totally die. But they get better. Because Grimlock saves the day. No, really.