Even Runners Need Etiquette


Saturday mornings I do my long run with a group of runners. We meet at the Gates of Percy Warner park in Nashville, TN. Percy and Edwin Warner parks feature 2,684 acres of some of the most beautiful woods in Tennessee. Lot’s of runners make these parks their favorite running grounds along with my running group. I’ve noticed a trend lately that has me a bit miffed. Runners who are coming opposite side from our group who look us in the eye but won’t acknowledge our gregarious “good morning,” or a friendly smile followed by a wave if the runner has ear plugs in. That’s just plain rude.

I haven’t seen a guide for runner etiquette but I’m sure there’s one somewhere. Here’s a few rules that should be in it:

1. If you make eye contact with another runner, smile or wave or say hello or maybe do all of them, just don’t stare them down as you cross paths, unless you’re a northerner running up north. If you’re a northern transplant in the South then this rule applies.

2. Runners run facing traffic. I’ve run facing traffic while another runner in front of me ran on the right side of the road. An incoming car got distracted looked at the other guy and almost took me out. I had to jump in a ditch at the last minute. At my age, ditch jumping is not pretty.

3. If you’re running with a group in a busy street, stay single file as close to the edge of the road as you can. Often groups of runners feel like they own the road. You don’t. But also drivers should move as far from runners (and cyclists as well) as possible. If there’s no traffic coming towards you, it’s ok to cross into the other lane to avoid hitting runners. I almost got clipped today by someone driving a Buick. (notice I didn’t say an old person, but hey, it was a Buick. Case closed).

5. If someone in your running group is having a bad day and they can’t run as fast as the rest of the group, then take turns running alongside your slowest friend. It’s good for the entire group to “share the love” instead expecting a single runner to stay behind, or worse, leave the weakest link to fend for himself. Yes, I’m talking about me.

6. If you’re going on a long run, bring water. It’s ok if you occasionally forget and mooch off some one else’s water, but making a habit of not bringing water will get you off the running team’s email list in a hurry. No one wants your germs.

7. Don’t eat chocolate before a run. Ok. that’s just a personal reminder of a running tragedy after I ate chocolate and went for a 10-miler. No, I didn’t finished it.

8. If you sweat like crazy, make sure you run behind or to the side of the group. We don’t want your sweat flung our way.

9. Group running is therapeutic. If you don’t want to hear all the drama in your running mates lives, run alone.

10. If you have women in your group and an attractive female appears on the scene. Do not acknowledge her in any way form or shape, specially shape, or your running partners will turn on you and shun you from the group. So I hear.

This is by no means comprehensive. What did I forget?

  • Jennifer Stevens

    Here's on for you. If you're going to run without a shirt on, if you're a man, or just with a sport's bra, if you're a woman, make sure you ask a trusted source if you should. In my experience only a very few should ever attempt that. Just sayin'

  • Andy

    I am not a runner, but I can imagine this would apply in a lot of situations, i.e. walking, running, cycling, swimming or any number of group activities. If you had Mexican the night before (or heaven forbid, pickled eggs), and the bouncing, churning activity causes things to buils to a, uh . . . combustible level, have the courtesy to drift to the BACK of the group before things bust loose. As an alternative, and so peoople don't think you're just tiring, try to control things until a livestock trailer loaded with cows goes by so you'll have good cover. Or, as you slow up to let others pass, just wave and smile sympathetically as you explain, "I'm just gonna drift back and take my turn keeping the slow guy company!"

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  • Kate

    You are so funny, Maurilio! A few things you forgot to address… how much clothing is necessary when running, particularly when it's really hot. You should also include your terrific commentary on wearing white. And lastly, remember to mention that within the running group, there should be sensitivity to the opposite sex in company when the conversation shifts to a discussion of body-types.

    • Kate all these are great points. I might have to write another whole post featuring them.

  • Bert

    Great blog Maurilio, very funny.

    • Thanks for stopping by Bert. Great seeing you on Saturday.

  • This is hilarious! But… do people actually sweat that much?

    • Duane, if you ran with our group you wouldn't ask that question. 🙂

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  • Strange, your post shows up with a orangeish hue to it, what color is the primary color on your site?

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