Today's blog post was brought to you by a woman I named "unfriendly runner". You see, today I was out in the rain and humidity, doing my 2 mile repeats, when I came upon a woman running towards me on the path where I train. The path has a solid yellow line down the middle, to separate the cyclists from the pedestrians. This woman was running on the line. She wouldn't make eye contact with me, so I couldn't even greet her with a nod or a good morning. And she wouldn't move over.
This isn't the first time I've encountered this on the path, but it was the first time I've had a runner do this. There are a lot of walkers on the path and some of them walk on the yellow line. And they won't move out of the way, forcing anyone who is passing them to swerve into oncoming traffic or over to the other side of the path. I will say that the path isn't completely flat, it is graded in spots and the pavement is cracked as well. So the yellow line seems to be the flattest and smoothest portion. I've run the yellow line myself. But what's with ignoring everyone around you? I wanted to give the unfriendly runner an elbow. But it would have been so obvious! So tempting tho.
And is it just me, or isn't there an unwritten rule that runners acknowledge another runner's efforts? A friendly greeting, or if you are just dying out there, a nod. A wave. Someone commented to me that maybe the runner was in her "zone". Nope. Not buying it. She was running towards me. Not only that, but we passed each other multiple times on the circular path. She knew I was there. Jerk.
I also knew that I was not in the wrong here. I did a internet search of runner etiquette. RRCA says:
Don't be a road or trail hog.
|That's what I'm talking about. Look at that. Right down the center line.|
Don't run down the middle of the road or trail.
Don't run more than 2 abreast on a trail.
Alert pedestrians when you are passing them.
The Guardian posted the 10 commandments of running etiquette. Including:
Thou shalt nod hello
Ok, so it is a written rule. These are simply common courtesies runners should observe while training. But this got me thinking about races too. What are some of the worst offenses runners do on race day?
My number one race day pet peeve is people who line up towards the front when their pace dictates they line up further back. Of course, this will be me on marathon day, since I got placed in a corral with people who run way faster than me. But I digress... What I really dislike is weaving around slower runners at the beginning of a race. The best example I can give of this is when I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K about 3-4 years ago. This race was full of newbies, who knew nothing about lining up for a race. There were walkers at the starting line ahead of the runners. People with strollers. No one paid attention to the pace markers. And for several miles, it was a disaster for those of us who came to run. Not to mention there was no chocolate left at the finish line. I learned a few things from that race, and number one is that I will never do a novelty race again. I think it's great that people are all coming out to run, but for me, it isn't fun to run when the participants aren't aware of race etiquette. Both RRCA and CARA state:
Line up according to your planned pace. Just because you arrived early doesn't mean you get to line up at the front.The Guardian says it best:
What else? Here's a few more things to consider:
Have you ever been running a race and someone stops in front of you, suddenly? And you almost smash into them? Another no-no. Run over to the side if you need to stop. Just so you know, I'll be running on the side with my fast corral group....
Don't be throwing gel packs and snot rockets back at the people behind you. Watch where you're dropping your discards. I've been hit with discarded gel packets at a race. Yuck. And yes, people do slip on banana peels, so those need to go somewhere safe too. I met a woman who slipped on a banana peel at mile 23 of the Chicago marathon one year. Yes, she fell. And yes, she dislocated her hip and messed up her knee. The best part of the story? She popped her hip back in and finished the race. BUT, if there hadn't been a banana peel on the ground, the whole thing could have been avoided.
Stop talking during the national anthem. Please! When we were lined up to run the Florida Halfathon last March, people continued to talk during the national anthem. Another runner told them to "STFU" and then a fight broke out. I've never been at a race when a fight broke out. It was a little unnerving! Anyways. Just hush. Be respectful.
Say thank you to the volunteers! I know this sounds so basic but think about it. They are sacrificing their free time to provide you with drinks, directions, what have you--to make your race experience a good one. They also smile when you thank them, which puts a smile on my face and makes my feet feel a little lighter for a while. Actually, along these lines, acknowledge the spectators too! Take those high fives from the little kids along the route. Just be careful so you don't plow them down.
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