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.
1. THE NOD
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.
2. THANKING MARSHALLS
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.
3. TRY NOT TO LITTER
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.
4. TAKE YOUR RIGHTFUL PLACE IN THE PEN
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.
5. NO BOOING
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.