17 Sep

Ps and Qs of Running

Man waving to crowd

Are runners the politest sportsmen and women? Maybe. Although I’m sure golfers, rugby players and cricketers would have something to say about it. I turned my mind to this by a friend who dabbles in both running and cycling.

He told me of his annoyance of fellow cyclists consistently failing to acknowledge him as they passed each other. Something he said that runners always did. I hadn’t dwelled on it before this, but the next few times I ventured out I put it to a not-so-scientific test. He was right. Barely a flicker of interest to my raised hand to each cyclist, but a consistent nod from each and every runner.
Maybe we are the politest of all? Anyway, as cycling attempts to steal some of our limelight, I think it only right that we seize the moral high ground. So here’s five must-do’s of running etiquette.
The undisputed number one. You see your fellow runner approaching. They are training, you are training. You both understand the strain, the struggle, the joy, the satisfaction, the frustration. You nod as you pass. For a fleeting moment you are soul-mates who know everything about the other.
Always thank the marshalls at each and every race. Your heart is pounding, you’re breathless, you’re shattered. But at the very least you mouth “thankyou” and wave at the marshalls.
We’ve all collected a water bottle or cup of water at a race and ran on with it. Don’t just lob it into the nearest field, leave it at the feet of a marshall or somewhere that it will definitely be seen and collected.
Be honest with yourself at the startline when positioning yourself in the starting pens. Don’t stand at the front if you are not a real contender and hamper the quicker runners. Similarly, if you are a faster runner, don’t start at the back and barge your way through the slower runners.
I’ve never known it to happen and I can imagine the sheer horror if it did happen. No booing at running events. Everyone from the winners to the straggler deserves support. Booing belongs in other sports. 


  1. Neil Jones said...

    Interesting the nod to other runners bit > I am used to that in Scotland but when I ventured to Cheltenham in Englandshire not a nod was to be had !

  2. Barry Stewart said...

    I have been running for 41/2 years and it still amazes me when a runner approaches and i go to give a nod or a smile and they are looking elsewhere not all the time but certainly most of the time.I'm afraid a lot of runners are stuck up and middle class especially smaller events .

  3. Linda Cunningham said...

    Great article. I turned up as a non runner to a charity event 2 years ago. I found the friendliness and support of all the seasoned runners around me put me at ease. Strangers offered to assist with attaching bibs and I was made so welcome regardless of my ability. It was this experience that made me want to be one of them. Two years down the line and I am out most days. I'm not the fastest or most elegant but still appreciate these nods and waves that make me feel part of the running community. Most runners appreciate anyone giving it a go! I acknowledge all runners. I have to say most cyclists give me a wave too! I am also in Scotland.