Rules of the Road: A Guide for Runners and Non-Runners

Race season is in full swing, which means Rye streets and roads are full of runners in training. Here’s a quick etiquette guide for runners and non-runners to ensure a safe and friendly streetscape for all. 

RunnerTHUMB
Published June 8, 2012 10:56 PM
4 min read

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RunnerTHUMBRace season is in full swing, which means Rye streets and roads are full of runners in training. Here’s a quick etiquette guide for runners and non-runners to ensure a safe and friendly streetscape for all. 


Runner sigangeBy Lee Sandford

 

Race season is in full swing, which means Rye streets and roads are full of runners in training. Here’s a quick etiquette guide for runners and non-runners to ensure a safe and friendly streetscape for all.

 

Runners

 

Run against the traffic and no more than two abreast.

 

Wear lots reflective gear when running at night. Cars can’t see you without it, and most of the favorite running routes in Rye have no sidewalks.

 

Acknowledge other runners with a “hi”, a nod, or a wave. I am happy to report this rule is widely followed in Rye. In fact, it was a contributing factor in our family’s decision to settle here. On our “look-see” trip here ten years ago, my husband and I had to get in our last long run before a half-marathon we had entered back in Scotland, and we were so impressed with how friendly everyone walking and running around Rye was. One lady actually took her earphones off to yell a friendly “Great day for a run together!”

 

I have learned that I am a “quiet” runner because when I have caught up with other runners on the road on a quiet day, they have almost jumped out of their sneakers because they didn’t hear me coming. I now try to remember to clear my throat a few paces back so they know they are sharing Forest Avenue with someone else.

 

This particularly applies to male runners — please spit discretely and when you have a good stretch of road to yourself.

 

Remember that non-runners don’t really care about the exact length of your current long run or minutiae of your splits in your last race. They are interested and polite enough to ask how far the race was, and perhaps your finishing time, but spare them details such as “and at the fourth water stop I had to tie my shoelace, which I think cost me 30 seconds on that mile, so if you take that off, it brings my average pace down to…”

 

Understand that lots of people are happy to not be runners. While we are addicted to the runner’s high, they are perfectly happy walking, doing yoga, Zumba. Don’t preach!

 

Fast runners: I know you think you are just being modest and self-deprecating when you say that your 30-minute, 5-mile race was slow and disappointing, but it just serves to be demoralizing for someone else who was proud of a 45-minute finish in the same race.

 

One last point about races that too many people forget – if you have breath at all, thank as many of the volunteers as you can for coming out. The race wouldn’t be possible without them.

 

Non-runners

 

Please give runners enough room on the roads. Roads in Rye are narrow — if another car is coming in the opposite direction, you may have to stop to let it pass, in order to give runners enough room.

 

Marathons are very, very, very hard. Few runners even aspire to achieve one — most are perfectly happy NOT being marathoners. Remember this, it will save you from making annoying comments like, “Oh, you like to run. How many marathons have you done?”

 

Half-marathons are very, very, very hard. Knowing this will help you remember to say upon hearing a friend has completed a half marathon, “Wow, what an achievement, congratulations!” rather than the irritating “Do you think you will do the real thing now?”

 

If you have come along to cheer on a friend or family member in a race, don’t just stand there mute while all the other runners run past. You got up at an ungodly hour to support your runner, so make it worth your while by cheering on as many people as you can and go home hoarse!

 

Bear with us when we are injured. An injured runner is an ugly beast — whiny, depressed, feeling they are growing fat and unfit by the second. Encourage them to see their rest period through to the end, no matter how hard that is when you just want to kick their sorry **** out the door and tell them not to come back for at least ten miles!

 

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