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Dontaskrun-wb 1096

The occupational hazard of working for a polar bear who dabbles in Mad Science. Yeah, you better run.

Maxim 2: A Sergeant in motion outranks a Lieutenant who doesn't know what's going on.

Maxim 3: An ordnance technician at a dead run outranks everybody.

Don't Try This At Home exists for a reason: some things are best just left to the professionals. Firemen, policemen, bomb techs, seasoned military veterans even action heroes and superheroes, put their bodies and lives on the line in the course of their job dealing with lots of dangerous stuff.

So when you see the seasoned professionals making a full speed run for it, you don't want to stop to argue. You don't make them explain what's going on. You don't yell at them because you're their superior officer and they are so getting court-martialed if they don't get their ass back on the front line. You run the hell away with them. To do otherwise is likely to be harmful or fatal; when the tough guys run like that, it's often a sign of impending Incendiary Exponent or Stuff Blowing Up. Or worse.

Sometimes the seasoned professional isn't running; maybe they need to stay behind and make a Heroic Sacrifice, or they're just finally letting loose. In these situations, they usually turn to the weaker members of the team and invoke the trope name or something similar.

"Oh Crap" sums these moments up quite nicely. Anyone ignoring this advice is arguably Too Dumb to Live. A very appropriate reaction to a Hero-Killer.

Examples of Don't Ask, Just Run include:


 Burt: No No No keep going! It's gonna be big!

Kate: Is he serious?

Earl: Burt knows his bombs.

  • Inverted in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, where it's the person who doesn't know what's going on refutes the need for an explanation. When Sam's parents are dropped into the battlefield as part of a trap, and are subsequently rescued, the elder Witwicky tells Sam, "I don't know what's going on but we've gotta move!"
  • The first Hellboy film has Liz gaining full control of her powers near the end. As she immolates herself, she tells her companion "You should be running."
  • In the movie version of The Sum of All Fears, one of the technicians at a Russian nuclear weapon disassembly plant is seen by Jack Ryan. The guide with him translates the Cyrilic shirt wording: "I am a bomb technician. If you see me running, try to keep up."


  • Lampshaded in Callahan's Secret, where a rookie to the New York City bomb squad specifically thinks "If he's running, I need to get the hell out of here!" when he sees his superior, Sergeant Noah Gonzalez, take off running in the middle of a defusing operation.
  • Also in Terry Pratchett's Johnny and The Bomb, where, during the Battle of Britain, an explosives expert is working on an unexploded bomb. Some falling bricks tumble down and hit the bomb, which starts ticking. A policeman asks, "Once they start ticking, how long until ..." then realizes he's talking to an empty space where the bomb tech was a moment ago.
    • In Discworld, alchemists must be smart and athletic. Smart enough to know when their experiment is about to explode, and athletic enough to get behind cover before it does. The smart part also includes running when somebody else starts running.
  • In Lord of the Rings, when the Fellowship hears the Balrog in Moria, Legolas (who is old enough to remember the Balrogs) starts freaking out.
  • Mentioned in World War Z, when a survivor is recounting being in a South African slum during a zombie attack. He remembered seeing people running and screaming "They're coming! They're coming!" He also remembers some people being confused and asking "Who is coming?"... except for those with the better survival instincts, who knew that you never needed to know who "they" were: if "they" were coming, you ran.

Live-Action TV

  • A fifth season CSI episode, "Down the Drain", has the team working with the bomb squad to clear a suspect's house that's stocked with homemade explosives. The bomb tech passes on to Grissom the timely (and some say traditional) advice: " Only one thing you need to worry about: If you see me running, make sure you keep up." (And if you don't think this gets invoked in the same episode, you don't watch enough TV.)
    • Shows up in the first season of CSI: Miami as well.
  • Of course this would come up on Myth Busters, working with bomb techs as much as they do.

 Adam: So what if it ignites early?

JD Nelson: Then it's time to de-ass the area with the quickness.

    • The above quote is from the Youtube Special, when they were trying to ignite a million matchheads at night.
  • From Prehistoric Park

 *A stampede crashes through a wall, releasing the monsters. Nigel watches from the control room*

Nigel: Bob, do you read, over? Matilda's behind you. Don't look, just run!

  • The amount of running involved in Doctor Who is something of a Running Gag (sorry), to the point where "RUN!" is the Doctor's first line in the new series.

 Donna: He saves worlds, rescues civilizations, defeats terrible creatures and runs a lot. Seriously, there's an outrageous amount of running involved.

    • Several classic Doctors use the line, "When I say run, run... Run!"
  • Carlos Mencia on Mind of Mencia referenced this trope regarding the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. A child at a resort apparently saw animals that were natural enemies running away from the water and remembered a nature documentary that said animals can often sense danger before humans. He told his family this and they ran for the high ground just before the wave hit. Mencia took this one step further, "If you see a cop, a black guy and a Mexican holding hands and running, then RUN!"

Video Games

  • In The Lost World Light Gun game, the second level requires the players to shoot their way through Site B's Visitor Center to locate Ian and Sarah. They find them, and one of the player characters asks what's going on (Ian and Sarah are running towards them). All they get is a "RUN!"
  • Witches in Left 4 Dead deliberately encourage this attitude in players.
    • Averted in the game's intro, where Louis asks whether they should run or shoot. Despite the large, rather impenetrable looking hoard of infected charging at them, Bill replies, "Both."
  • You are advised by the Pigmasks in the Chimera Laboratory in Mother 3 to GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE if you see the Ultimate Chimera (described as being the red one with the teeth). This is for good reason; should you attempt to approach it, you don't even get a Hopeless Boss Fight; you lose, right then and there.

Web Comics

  • The trope quote from Schlock Mercenary comes from a strip where the ship's demolitions tech has set up perimeter mines designed to trigger in the presence of large heavily armed vehicle (the fail-safe was left as a project for the junior officer.) Cue the large, armed robot who happens to be the team's assignment to protect...
    • In an earlier storyline, Breya's starship was being repaired in a stolen-and-resold Ob'enn fabbery. A pair of Ob'enn Thunderhead Superfortress-class ships were bearing down on them, causing Breya and Kevyn - onboard the ship - to hit the throttles and tear out of there in the hopes of at least DISTRACTING the attackers. Aboard the fabbery, Warrant Officer Thurl sees the ship leave, and immediately heads for the lifeboat at a dead run, encouraging the rest of the engineering squad to keep up. He comments, "If the Athens left like there's no tomorrow, then there probably won't be..."
    • Lt. Pibald may be certifiably crazy, yet he knows what it means if Sgt. Schlock suddenly bounces by, a plasma cannon in grasp and not stopping for explaination:

 Pi: Wait, are we having a Maxim 2 moment?

Pi: (running after Schlock) Stupid, Pi, stupid! If you have to ask, then yes, you're having a Maxim 2 moment!

 Lothar: Runs pretty fast for a nerdy dude.

Eastwood: I'm gonna say that when the interdimensional quantum physicist bolts for the exit, we should probably follow his lead.

  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Doc has to explore an ancient temple in order to help prevent what he thinks is an oncoming apocalypse. A note left by previous explorers is taped to a statue; it reads:

 We have no idea how to keep these things from turning on--JUST RUN.

Web Original

  • In Entry #26 of Marble Hornets, Alex says this to his girlfriend Amy after she inadvertently summons the Operator to their new house by watching a distorted tape on Alex's old camera.
    • In Entry #42, Jay shouts this to Alex after having an encounter with the Operator. Its... funnier than it sounds.

Western Animation

  • Invoked by Guardian Bob of Re Boot in a crashing game:

 Bob: Huh. It's an infinite if/else loop.

Dot: Which means?


  • Dash gets this from his hero Danny Phantom when they're both shrunk. Because he's losing his powers from said incident, Danny can't fight any obstacles in his path, so he tells Dash to make a break for it. They pretty much do this for the majority of the episode.

Real Life

  • Military example: "Explosive Ordnance Technician: If you see me running, try and keep up." t-shirts are quite popular around bomb-techs.
    • Civilian pyrotechnics experts sometimes wear similar shirts.
    • As do firefighters.
    • Nucs (The people who run the nuclear reactors on Carriers and Subs) have come up with their own version, "Nuclear Reactor Technician: If you see me running, it's already too late."
  • Dave Attell once did a stand up about how he witnessed a real bull attack on TV. The man attacked had his pants and underwear torn off in the attack. He immediately got up and ran away despite the fact that his genitals were exposed. The comedian remarked how much fear a man must have to just start running "with his penis flapping everywhere". He went on to say "if you leave outta here tonight and you see a man running down the street with his penis flapping everywhere: run with that man, because there is some scary shit coming the other way."
  • If you are in a forest, and all animals suddenly start running in the same direction, run with them. They have a good reason for it. It can safe your life.
  • In the 2004 Tsunami, people were very, very worried about all the indigenous people living on the islands etc. Well, it turned out they were very much alive and with them some missing tourists, who took the Don't Ask Just Run seriously - if the locals start running like hell for the high ground, you damn well follow them.
    • Generally, when you see people running away in terror, it's not a good idea to stay and watch what the fuss is all about.
    • It's also a well known maxim among travelers and soldiers: the locals know more about the area than you do. They live there, after all.
      • Which doesn't help when the people running away are doing so behind you, while you stand on the beach wondering what the hell just happened to the water. Fortunately, even if you can't hold a conversation the local language, it's not hard to recognise their phrase for "Oh Crap".
  • The story about the kid referred to Live-Action TV is partially true. There was a kid who had just recently learned that if the water draws back, there will be a huge flood wave. The kid warned his parents and so a lot of people could run to safety, while on the other hand OTHER people walked INTO the ocean to look where the water went.
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