Just been out for some interval work and for a change I avoided the quiet cycle path I normally use and went out on the mean streets of Cheltenham.
That was a mistake.
Firstly the pavements of this town are no match for the glass smooth path I usually do speed work on. It was more like a trail run in places; tree roots, raised paving slabs, pot holes. It’s not easy to concentrate on speed when you’re also concentrating on not hitting the deck face first.
The other issue I encountered was people. It still amazes me how people refuse to give up any precious pavement to runners, being far more defensive than if I had merely been strolling towards them. It’s almost a matter of pride for people that they forced a runner sideways/in to the road/to stop and wait. I comfort myself by blaming it on their jealousy and insecurities, that just about stops me from letting people know exactly what I think about their manners…
…which reminded me…
…a few weekends ago I did some events, a 10k trail run and a cross-country mountain bike ride. I got overtaken quite a bit in both, I wasn’t racing, I was there for fun. But what disappointed me is that NO ONE who went passed me gave any indication they were doing so or acknowledgement when I moved to let them go.
I’m sure this is a reasonably new phenomenon, I remember events of old where the shout of “on your left” or “when I can” from behind was almost a soundtrack to the race (which shows you how used to being passed I am!). Certainly at mountain bike events even the lead riders were courteous enough to bellow “lead rider” as they came flying up to and past you.
I don’t know where that etiquette has gone, but maybe WE can be the people to start putting it back? So I implore you, dear readers, if you are ever lucky enough to be overtaking a slower runner on a thin trail or squeezing between flailing elbows in a city marathon, let them know you’re there. It takes seconds to shout “on your right” and even less time to throw a “thanks” over your shoulder as you float away further up the course. It will make your progress easier, your heart happier and as it will more than likely be me you pass, cheer me up no end!