Not All Runners Are Friendly

A head nod, a quick wave, a smile, a “hey” or “good morning”…any acknowledgment of the presence of a fellow runner. I always do it – usually a verbal acknowledgment if we pass close enough, a short wave if we are on opposite sides of the road.

Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to go for runs all over the United States. Memphis, Birmingham, Orlando, Las Vegas, Huntsville, Tampa, Mobile, Oklahoma City, Boston, and some other cities that I can’t even remember. While running in these cities I always take notice of how “friendly” fellow runners are. While it’s not exactly a scientific study, I have noticed that people in the deep south (Alabama, Florida, Tennessee) generally return my acknowledgment…while people in the north and western part of the country either give me a weird look or just pretend like they are blind and deaf. This last week, I ran twice in the Boston area. I probably passed around 8-10 runners (lots of people run there). Of those runners, only one returned my acknowledgment.

I don’t get it. What’s the problem? Are you so focused on your run that giving me so much as a head nod is going to ruin your workout? Someone explain this to me. If you are a “non-waver”, tell me why. Do you think I’m crazy for waving or talking to a stranger?

Motorcyclists do it. You see it every time they pass one another on the road. That little wave of the hand to acknowledge your comrade on two wheels. It’s like saying, “yeah, you understand”. I feel this way about the runners wave. Runners are a special group of people that not everyone understands. A wave is simply a way of saying “yeah, you understand”. You understand why I’m out here at 5:00 am or out here when it’s 10 degrees, or 100 degrees…you get it.

So I ask all of your runners, just give me a little wave next time…it’s not too much to ask!

I got to run with my wife Jessica for the first time. We did the first mile together, then I went a few more miles on ahead while she turned around and continued her run back to the car. It was fun to run with her and I hope we get to do it more often. We ran in the morning around the Cambridge Reservoir close to our hotel. Beautiful place to run!
Warm-up with Jessica – 1.05 miles in 11:49 (11:15 min/mile pace)
Workout – 3.6 miles in 27:45 (7:42 min/mile pace)
Total – 4.6 miles in 39:34 (8:31 min/mile pace)

Check out the view:

1h30m on the bike. This included a 45 minute Spin Class with lots of good speed intervals of various lengths, from 30 seconds to 2 minutes with 15 seconds of rest in between each. Heart Rate climbed into the 140’s during the intervals. Good workout!
Avg. HR = 125 bpm

2 Responses to “Not All Runners Are Friendly”

  1. Anonymous July 29, 2010 at 9:03 PM #

    This post made me giggle SO MUCH. My best friend and I train together, and we have remarked on unfriendly runners thousands of times. The real head-scratcher is that oftentimes, these people STARE YOU DOWN. Generally, eye contact is an invitation for communication. Apparently this isn’t true for everyone. Please keep being a friendly runner. You’re not alone. Yeah, WE understand!

  2. Lola July 29, 2010 at 9:11 PM #

    As a new runner (and one also not currently in the most fit of shapes)- I love it when “real” runners say hi or acknowledge that I’m out there, doing it and understand. I do feel like I’ve joined a “club” even if I don’t quite fit the bill just yet. I just did a Ragnar Relay in Utah in June – having only been a runner for 6 months. The encouragement and friendliness of the other runners was actually so great, it surprised me AND it really helped me get through it.
    So, you meanies? Stop it!

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