Spring racing season is in full swing and now is good timing to remind myself of my manners, and share the manners list with others. Through my extensive research on becoming a race director, I’ve stumbled upon a rather comprehensive list of running etiquette from Road Runners Club of America (RRCA). I feel like such a miscreant having run roughly 50 races over the past 5 years and I’m just now coming across this impressive list. As I measure my manners against these criteria, I’ll have to admit I’m not as polite a runner as I thought I was. Is ignorance of the “law” a valid defense in this case?
“Whatever the pace, wherever the race, manners matter.” -Road Runners Club of America
Confessions of a runner…
Did you know that you are supposed to run against traffic IF on a road and on the right IF on the sidewalk, but NEVER in the middle of the road? I knew the first one, always wondered about the second, but don’t think I needed to be told about the third, suppose it doesn’t hurt though (just like the warning on my dryer says not to put children or pets inside), common sense isn’t a standard option in all brains. Not running in the middle of a trail though? Hmmm, that I do just about every time I’m on a trail; does this apply if I’m the only one on the trail, or in the woods? Do I have to stop at a stop sign if I’m the only car at the intersection?
To all the pedestrians on Main St that I’ve startled, spooked, or scared when I called out “passing”, I’m sorry, but I have to. Turns out it’s been advised all this time that I should alert people. Do semantics matter, should I say “on your left” instead of “passing left”? I don’t think it really matters because someone’s going to jump either way, regardless of what I say. I’m glad I read this because lately I’ve been wondering if I should stop alerting people and just run in the middle of the road… wait, not supposed to do that either.
I beg forgiveness from every race director of every race I signed up for same day (Memorial Day Marathon, Race of Champions, Keene 4 on the 4th, Sea Legs Shuffle, New Bedford Half Marathon, Oleksak Half Marathon, Montague Mug Race, and Killington 5K Turkey Trot). May Karma be kind to me as a rookie director and may my race day registrations be minimal. Until I experienced for myself the hectic and confusing process of setting up runner information on race day, I had no appreciation for races that require advance sign up. RRCA should put the pre-registration rule in bold.
My worst offence in breaching runner etiquette is at water stations. My boyfriend, Chris, brought this to my attention for the first time at (and repeatedly since) our first half marathon together. I slow down to a near stop to take water that my lack of coordination would otherwise cause me to spill and Chris runs into my foot heals -and then the water spills anyway. I really want to blame him for tailgating on my speediness, but he’s right, RRCA is right, I really need more awareness of myself and others at water stations. The rule is to move to the right. Okay, I will!
My final confession, I left before the awards ceremony for 2 races that I placed in my age group (in my defense, I didn’t know I won for either of those, but now I check before I leave). I stayed for the ceremony for 3 others, including the only race I won, the Killington Turkey Trot, and they didn’t have a ceremony! Go figure, the race I won didn’t have a ceremony or any recognition for the winners what-so-ever. So feeling the absence of a ceremony when a win was earned is lesson enough to stick around for ceremonies in the future, and to make sure races are encouraged to celebrate their winners.
Relief! I’m not THAT rude of a runner. I learned from RRCA’s etiquette list and you may find it enlightening as well. Happy (and polite) running to all!
Here’s the list: http://www.rrca.org/education-advocacy/etiquette-for-runners/