Manners Cost Nothing

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!

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11 Responses to Manners Cost Nothing

  1. Paul hooper says:

    James I concur totally , manners are a thing of the past , many times whilst walking my dog in the morning ,I see others doing the same or walking home with a paper etc , I always used to say good morning , but 90% of these greetings were completely ignored ,I mean I did not want to enter into a conversation ,I was merely being courteous , sadly due to this ignorance I no longer bother .

    • James Clay says:

      That’s another form of running rudeness that annoys me. Unless a fellow runner is tanking past the other way, flat out, eyes on the prize I will almost always give a nod or wave or acknowledge their efforts in some way. That’s what being part of the running fraternity is all about, that unity. But it is getting rarer and rarer for runners to respond, as if smiling at someone might ruin their run session and destroy their chances of a PB in their next race somehow. Won’t stop me though, I will always be the polite, disappointed one!

  2. I agree. I ran to Waitrose this weekend (I needed to do a quick run and needed to go to Waitrose) so 2 birds 1 stone, right? Every single person seemed to give me the evil eye because I *dared* job up the street while they were walking down it. I was rather displeased to say the least. I’ve never had any issues with any runners, but while I’m out in the parks there seems to be plenty of room for everyone.

    • James Clay says:

      And the crazy thing is I’m a big bloke, if I’m walking down the street invariably people will get out the way! For some reason because I have the audacity to run they refuse to concede an inch and I’m forced in to evasive manoeuvres. People amaze me, I’m rapidly going off them!

  3. racebunny says:

    I’m lucky that I usually get smiles and a few (breathless) ‘hello-s’ from fellow runners when I am out. But if you want to hear rude, I’ll give you rude…

    • James Clay says:


      I do think it stems from a deep-rooted insecurity in people that don’t exercise or ‘can’t’ run. Because they see us doing something about our health and they don’t understand the joy it brings they lash out.

      You’ve reminded me I’ve been meaning to share the story of being run over…I feel a blog post coming on!

  4. JogBlog says:

    And cyclists on the pavement who don’t say thanks when you stop to let them get past.

    Welcome to Juneathon!

  5. gorunjess says:

    Completely agree! I always try to go for the “on your left” paired with a “Good Mornin’!” Just makes for such a more pleasant running/biking session.

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