It’s true. I was running a speed session last Friday and the path hadn’t been properly cleared, and so there was only one pathway for pedestrians. The workout called for 3-minutes at tempo pace between two minutes of leisurely running and I was having a week—dry January, COVID, winter, etcetera. If you were jogging in the opposite direction, or else walking along the path during my three-minute go-time, I would’ve forced you out of the way. I wasn’t stopping and I wasn’t ceding my ground. And you know what? I’d done this before.
I try not to do speedwork on crowded sidewalks. I’m not an animal. But I have. I have been running quickly along College Street and barely missed running into a pedestrian. I think I’ve done that to mothers pushing strollers and grandmothers out for a breath of fresh air. If it sounds like I’m proud of this, I’m not. It’s humiliating. I’m always on about people who don’t properly control their dogs or else races where participants have to stop for a light. I complain more than Goerge Costanza. So I thought it might make sense to look at my own behaviour. Once at the track, at the beginning of COVID, a woman complained I was getting too close to her. Was I? I don’t think so. It was a track, but still: you have to listen to what the universe says.
Other runners have also acknowledged recent times when they were big jerks. “Running with my group they were doing a 30K LSD, they didn’t know I was only doing 21 that day. The guy that usually leads the pack hates when anyone is staying with him. At 16K I moved up the pace for my final 5, he stayed with me or a little ahead, so I kept increasing my pace until my final K when I got into my closing sprint mode. Sure enough he kept moving up. I surprised him when I bailed at 21.”
That’s a big one. Racing on a training day when it’s supposed to be a slow run. Another jerky thing to do is to run together with your partner until the very end, and then speed up toward the finish line: if only you know that you’re racing. Jerk! “When my husband who doesn’t run, says he will go for a 5km with me but he’s quite fast on the shorter distance (annoying because he never runs!), so I pretend to check my Garmin and tell him we still have a bit to go… I lie about the distance until he looks like he can’t sprint the finish so I can “win.” I’m a jerk. Also, he doesn’t know we are racing.”
A lot of runners talked about interacting with civilians. I know we all hate when we’re running on a sidewalk or path and someone is looking down at their phone. Pick your head up! Most of us make way for the phone-looker. One runner did not. “I shoulder checked the clown walking towards me with his face buried in his phone. The guy behind me laughed. He was flabbergasted, but when the fellow behind me started to laugh there wasn’t much he could do.”
iRun doesn’t endorse shoulder-checking civilians. (Look at Lanni Marchant, pictured above, Lanni shoulder-checking someone on their phone will send them to the ICU). This will not give runners a good name. Once, I was in my running clothes, all florescent yellows, and the garbage man hadn’t picked up our trash and so I brought it to the building across the street, to dump my garbage. The super of the building came out and caught me, and I was in all bright yellow clothing. Not a good look for our sport.
“One time I was running on the sidewalk approaching a couple from behind. I started saying “behind you,” and they didn’t move or acknowledge me. Then I said “behind you” again, still wouldn’t move. Maybe they were so engrossed in their conversation, they weren’t paying attention to me. Then when I got right up behind them I yelled: “HEY! MOVE IT!” Scared the living CENSORED out of them, they jumped onto the grass.”
Of course, as runners, we share the road with other people. We share it with other runners, with cars, with people eating their dinners and talking on their phones. I’m sure my neighbours don’t love it when, in the summer, and their enjoying a meal on the patio, I come cruising by, shirtless, dripping sweat like a faucet while they try and enjoy their Chardonnay. Well, it happens. “One time I was running a half marathon and a fellow decided to pass me (hey, no biggie, I’m slow). BUT HE GOBBED a SNOT ROCKET as he passed. To me, that felt like it was done on purpose so I ran quite hard to catch up to him and wiped my sleeve on him and said don’t ever do that again. Use your manners buddy! I still gag when I think about that memory.”
Snot rockets are a common occurrence on the race path, nobody’s favourite cup of tea. Same with spitting in general. Look, it happens. But: yuck. There’s one other big one that all runners will acknowledge but only few are brave enough to admit. And I dare say no one among us hasn’t at one point been involved in something similar. Have a good day everybody, mine your manners, as least as much as humanly possible, and we’ll just leave it at this: “I remember farting while at the front of a group going through a tunnel,” shared one reader: “That was a jerk move, but funny as hell!!!!!”