Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Courteous Runner - 9 Things Conscientious Runners Do!

My last few weekends have been full of heavy miles on road and trail.  I watch people a lot on my runs.   It is sad to say but there has been an uptick in bad runner behavior.  

So if I were writing a Miss Manners guide for runners who want to be polite, it would look like this....

Rule One:  Courteous runners launch rockets with care!  Hey!!!  Everyone running any kind of distance needs to launch one from time to time.  Be thoughtful about where you launch and the direction of the wind.  There is nothing more gross than getting attacked by a wayward rocket.  

Rule Two:  Courteous runners know that when you are running up a trail,  you should move over to the right (or side) when a down hiller is coming at you.  It is just plain rude to not give ground to someone joy gliding down a hill while you are on the way up!

Rule Three:  Courteous runners, when passing walkers or other runners on a mixed use path (aka bike use), glance over their left shoulders before they make a lane change.  The spinal cord injury you avoid may be your own.  I have seen several near misses on the Golden Gate bridge where a fellow runner darted to the left to avoid a tourist, right into the path of a skidding (swearing) cyclist.  

Rule Four:  Courteous Runners don't just stop dead in the middle of a path or trail...they move to the side.  I don't care if your shoe lace is flapping, there is a bald eagle nest directly above or you stopped to gawk at an attractive lady in front of you...stopping in the middle of a trail with others behind or ahead of you creates an obstacle that may cause someone an accident.  The only exception?  You are face to face with a bear!

Rule Five:  Courteous runners pick up their trash!  Dropping Gu foils or other trash on a trail is disgusting.  Are people really that lazy, stupid and uncaring?  We should be able to make citizen's arrests complete with instant death penalty rules for this.

Rule Six:  Courteous male runners "go" far enough off the trail as to not expose the "little marathoner" to other runners (especially of female persuasion) when nature calls.  Pull off the course, get behind a tree or bush or something.  Exposing oneself to nature (ahem) should not involve an audience.

Rule Seven:  Courteous runners let faster runners go by on tight trails.  Forcing an obviously faster runner to stay behind you or "earn it" on a tight trail is just not cool.  Give a quick wave behind and pull over.  The faster runner may be the bonked out guy you need to pass 5 miles down the road and you want the same courtesy.  

Rule Eight:  Courteous runners leave one ear bud out on tight trails when listening to music.  It seems obvious, but listening for trail noise behind and ahead is impossible with "Seven Nation Army" blaring at maximum loudness in both ears.  

And finally...

Rule Nine:  Courteous male runners don't speed up unnaturally to avoid being chicked.  Deal with it dude.  She is faster than you.  You picking up the pace is only amusing to her.  Press your luck too hard and she may turn on the jets to give your ego a final kick!  Let her go man!  Let her go!