Runner’s Etiquette: Part 1

Have you ever misjudged the way your spit would land?  Throw a half-finished cup of water at someone?  Cut off fellow-runners when trying to surge through the crowd?  You might be known as an “idiotic runner.”  Like driving a car, a runner should follow some basic rules of the road — not just for safety, but more importantly to avoid the unfortunate “idiotic runner” label.  Here’s part one of Runner’s Etiquette from the Runner’s Guide to Rocking the Race.

Here, John B. expresses his road rage toward passive spectators.

RULE #1: Don’t Spit on Anyone

Scenario: You have a wad of phlegm in your mouth and decide not to look around yourself before hocking and spitting.  Although normally an accurate aim, you mistakenly target the left shoulder of an innocent little runner.

Future fix: If you feel like you have to spit, throw-up, or do a snot-rocket (plugging one nostril with your finger, and blowing out snot projectile from the other nostril), best to move to the side of the road.

Extra tip: If some other normal bodily function has to happen, there are typically port-a-potties throughout a race.  If not, best to try a local store or “pop a squat” where no one’s wandering eyes can spot.

RULE #2: Use “Signaling” to Pass Runners

Scenario: Pissed that you cannot seem to get around slower runners than yourself, you swerve in and out across the course, bumping into a few fellow runners.  In the process you happen to block other runners coming up behind you by aimlessly running back and forth.

Future fix: Just as you would signal left when in a car, your “blinker” is your arm and pointer finger (not your voice since people wear iPods and obviously won’t be aware of their surroundings).  Inform runners who are behind you that you will be passing them simply by extending your arm at the side of your body.  Keep your hand in a fist but hold your pointer finger out into the direction you are trying to pass.  Look behind you to make sure there aren’t any runners approaching behind you.

Extra tip: Like the left lane on a highway, the innermost curve of the course is technically considered the fast-lane.  Sometimes this is not the case and people will walk along this fastest line of the course.  Ideally, every runner would allow the fastest runners competing for time to use this lane.  Since not everyone respects that, however, it is best to pay attention to the gaps in the course when trying to blaze past your fellow runners.

RULE #3: Don’t Block the Water Station!

Scenario: You sprint to the water station, excited to rehydrate, and slow down abruptly.  In the process, you block others from accessing the table and cause the runner behind you to slow down, which is grounds for an accident waiting to happen.

Future fix: Look behind your shoulder to see if there are any runners approaching behind you. Edge into the water station at an even pace, grab the cup, and move out quickly (using the above signaling method).

Extra tip: Throw your cup (hopefully empty so as not to splash other runners) to the side of the road AND away from the course.  Toss the cup low versus over your shoulder.  (Idiotic runners throw their cups up in the air as though it were a graduation hat).

Part Two to come 🙂


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