Tired of Running

"No more running. I aim to misbehave."
Malcolm Reynolds, Serenity

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.


Anime and Manga

  • Surge of the New X-Men: "No. This has to end. We have to end it. Forty-seven of us are dead. Jay is dead. Max is dead. Laurie is dead. Brian is dead. John went insane, and who knows where Kevin is. The X-Men can't save us. The O* N* E and their Sentinels are a sick joke. They'll probably be coming after us next. And the Avengers don't care. It's up to us. The X-Men are half a world away. We can't wait for them. Forge could still be alive, and if he's not, then Nimrod is coming for us next. This thing was involved with Stryker. It helped him kill our friends. So we'll save Forge. And we'll take this thing down." They then go out and beat Nimrod by forcing it into a temporal paradox by overloading the time device.

  • 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.
  • "My name is UltraViolet... and I am THROUGH running!"
  • Friendship is Magic: The Adventures of Spike: At the end of the "Spike: 20% Cooler" arc, Spike is being chased by some Diamond Dogs when he comes to this conclusion — he's sick of always running from danger and needing others to save him, so he decides to stand and fight.
  • In A Digimon fan fiction Zero 2 A Revision, Kari, sick of being a damsel-in-distress needing to be protected, decides to stand down and personally confront Davis's evil half Darkheart despite knowing full well he has already absorbed all of the other Digidestined and their Digimon and will likely get beaten down by him.

  • 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.
  • Enough: Slim spends most of the movie running away from and trying to escape from her abusive Implacable Man of an ex-husband Mitch, but finally gets sick of running and decides to fight back.
  • 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. Aptly, Alan's father and Van Pelt are played by the same actor.
  • 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 apparent 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." He then holds the thin passageway for as long as he can before he dies.
  • The Shawshank Redemption: "...I'm so tired of being afraid all the time..."
  • A Knight's Tale. "I will not run! I am a knight!" ...said William Thatcher, after his True Companions and noble-born Love Interest urge him to flee when it is discovered that he is a mere peasant masquerading as a knight to joust in tournaments.
  • 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!
  • Towards the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Davy Jones is dead and the Dutchman seems to have been destroyed, but the Armada's still waiting. When Gibbs argues that it's time to embrace "that oldest and noblest of pirate traditions", Jack of all people declares that he's "never one for tradition." It probably helps that he knew that the Dutchman had a different captain by now.
  • At the climax of The Fugitive, Inspector Gerard (who is by now fully aware that Kimble is innocent), calls out to him, "Give it up! It's time to stop running!", implying that Kimble must be feeling like an example of this trope.
  • The Warriors: Cowboy and Ajax are being chased through a NYC park by the Baseball Furies, who outnumber them at least five to one. When Cowboy gasps out that he can't run anymore, Ajax snarls, "Good! I'm sick of this running crap!" When they stop, Cowboy goes down, and the Furies surround him, Ajax follows up with one of the great Pre-Asskicking One-Liners in film history.

  • 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 Galaxy of Fear, Hoole and the Arrandas decide it is time to quit running at the end of "The Hunger". They'd been looking into joining the Rebels off and on for a while, but this is also the book where they really get a chance to do so.
  • 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 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 situation: an American special forces squad is 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.
  • Catching Fire:
    Katniss: Life in District 12 isn't really so different from life in the arena. At some point, you have to stop running and turn around and face whoever wants you dead. The hard thing is finding the courage to do it.
  • At the beginning of Twenty Years After (sequel to The Three Musketeers), Porthos and D'Artagnan are assigned the task of recapturing the Duke of Beaufort who escaped from the Bastille. After a long chase, the Duke decides to stop and fight back.

Live-Action Television
  • There was a skit from The State where they played with this. A man escapes from prison (through a wide open gate) and then returns years later, but finds that they gave up looking for him.
  • In The Sarah Connor Chronicles, John advocates this strategy when dealing with Cromartie, saying he's tired of constantly running from him and wants to turn the tables on the Terminator.
  • In the second season of Prison Break, in what was either a Moment Of Awesome or Jumping the Shark (maybe both):
    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.

Newspaper Comics
  • While being chased by a dog, Garfield wonders what exactly dogs actually do to cats if they catch them. So he stops running and asks the dog what happens next. The dog blissfully starts a waltz with Garfield. An irritated Garfield asks that he be the one to lead next time.

Video Games
  • 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. 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.
    "We grow tired of wandering the stars, Shepard. We want our world back. We have paid enough for our mistake."
    • Repeatedly invoked in Mass Effect 3 by Shepard. Despite being forced to bug-out of Earth, Shepard spends the entire game determined to raise the greatest armarda the Galaxy has ever seen, in order to give the Reapers hell to pay!
    • During the Sanctuary mission in the third game, Miranda reveals that everything she'd been doing in the past few months was a result of this feeling. Her words after killing her father? "It's finally over, for both of us. We can stop running."
  • 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.
  • Brain Dead 13: In the final confrontation with Dr. Neurosis, Lance is faced by Fritz, who wants to unleash Trigger Happy terror upon him by unloading every weapon he's got. Of course, Lance can have a choice of running away again by pressing right first or by pressing left twice, but that would only waste more time in endless chasing. The solution? Lance has to move left once, and then right, in order to show Fritz and Neurosis that our hero is tired of running away, then makes a Badass Arm-Fold and a Take-That Kiss to show that he is not afraid and is ready for one more challenge that awaits him.
  • This trope gets Zigzagged in Resident Evil 6. At the end of Jake's Campaign, upon facing the Ustanak for the fifth time, Jake decides he's tired of being stalked by it and gives a speech to the subject:
  • Happens in the end of the Demon Hunter's trailer for Diablo III: After witnessing the Hunter at work and being offered a chance to join her, the nameless survivor of a demon attack resolves to stop running from the monsters and start hunting them.


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 isn'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 Black Comedy version of this trope:
    Wooldoor: Like Paul McCartney's ex-wife... we're not running anymore!
  • In the Transformers Generation One episode "Call of the Primitives", the Predacons versus Unicron's little brother. Tornedron sucks the life out of anything on contact, and grows to ever larger and more terrible monster forms... unnecessarily, 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.

Real Life
  • The hunting tactic of our ancestors. What humans lacked in speed and strength, they made up for in endurance. Eventually, our prey would just give up and wait for its pursuers, unable and unwilling to keep running. Chimpanzees use a similar strategy when they hunt colobus monkeys. The monkeys are more agile, but the chimpanzees hunt as a team to harry it until it's too exhausted to keep evading them. The monkeys give up and wait for the chimpanzees to tear them limb from limb.