This morning I did 9 miles in the park with 10x100yd strides (they should have been 100m strides, but I used the reservoir which has 20yd markers). The run wasn't anything exciting so I won't bore you with any more details. Instead, I'd like to bore you with something else--running related--that I've been thinking about the past couple of days: acknowledging other runners.
Anyway, the point of the above rambling is that, at least in New York, there is no real protocol for greeting other runners. Generally, there is little to no acknowledgment. I don't know why this is. I've noticed on my runs in Van Cortlandt Park that as soon as I cross
the county line into Westchester, the number of hellos and waives I give
and receive jumps exponentially. It must be something about city
living. I guess it makes sense when you're running in Central Park at 7pm on a Tuesday when the roads are choked with runners, walkers, and even "joggers" moving in every direction. But what about at 5am on a Friday when there are four people on all of East Drive?
My theory: we city runners view these interactions as a game of chicken. No one wants to be the first person so say or do something polite in case the other person doesn't return the gesture. One of the announcements on the subway ends with the following, "Courtesy is contagious and it begins with you." Maybe I'll make that my goal for the rest of the week, spreading a little courtesy to other runners. It's possible nothing will change. But then again, who knows how many I may be able to infect?