how to be nice to a runner

If you feel like spreading some cheer and goodwill this holiday season, here’s an easy one – be nice to a runner.

Look. Running in the winter fucking sucks. It would be amazing if the people we passed on the street didn’t make it worse.

Whenever I’m running past people on the sidewalk, I can always tell if they’re fellow runners, or if they’ve never set running shoe to pavement in their lives. Luckily, I’m easy to trick. Here’s how:

1. If you see or hear one coming, get out of the way. Easy! Right? But – just for clarity’s sake – let me expand. If you are walking arm-in-arm with someone and taking up the sidewalk, move over (i.e. don’t force me to go into traffic to avoid you). If you are walking in a group of four and taking up the whole sidewalk, be the one to move out of the way, falling behind your group for two seconds (i.e. don’t make me come to a full stop while someone finally, grudgingly breaks the chain and makes me squeeze past them). If you are by yourself, and in the middle of the sidewalk, move to the right or left! I’m not picky. If your bike is blocking the whole sidewalk, move it. See? It is simple. It always amazes me how often people seem to forget to do this.

2. If you’re a smoker, that’s cool, but can you resist blowing out right as I run past you please. It’s fine – I was a smoker slash runner for years. I promise I am not judging you. But I also know it’s not absolutely crucial for you to exhale right as I run past – and certainly not right in my direction. If it’s unavoidable and you must blow out smoke – just turn your head to a different side than where I am passing you. Again. Simple!!!

3. If you’re driving up to a zebra crossing and you see a runner coming, for fuck’s sake, stop. This one is a huge problem in Amsterdam/Holland in general (not just for runners), but for some reason even in Vancouver I experienced a strange reluctance on behalf of drivers to stop for runners – even more so than pedestrians. I don’t really get it. For the record, we don’t like stopping abruptly while a car whizzes past us. I’ve injured myself this way more than once.

4. Bonus: If you see us in distress, offer help. Ok this one requires interaction. But it’s also important. Sometimes, especially in the winter, runners slip, fall, get splashed by icy water, nearly get hit by cars, etc. If you see that you can help… don’t just walk by.

See how easy it is to be a better pedestrian? Happy holidays everybody 😉

P.S. I intend to uncouple this blog from my Facebook page after this post. If you want to continue reading it, either remember the URL or press the “follow” button (should be somewhere on this page). Thanks!


About Varia

Traveler, writer.
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