I never cease to be surprised by peoples reactions to runners and the way they respond, greet or astutely ignore you as you pound past on your daily trot. On the whole, people are generally happy to stand to one side to allow you to pass with a nod and a thank you. But there are those that view you with increasing disbelief as you grow closer, and unless youre prepared to barge through them, will force you into the undergrowth, the gutter or if youre really unlucky, into an inconveniently placed clump of stinging nettles or cow pat.
I acknowledge all those whose paths I cross with a nod, a smile or greeting. I try to gauge the salutation, if any, that I will receive in reply.
Single syllable favourite of other breathless runners.
Used exclusively by the 30-40
A particular favourite of middle-aged women walking dogs (never to be confused with Well hello, an opening [and definitely closing] gambit of lechers of all ages as you whizz past).
As in view halloo. A favourite of the boating fraternity on the Thames as they pootle by on their river cruisers.
This can vary from a short mornin (often accompanied by the touching of a hat) from older men to a long morn-ing (in a what-have-we-here? tone of voice) or a breezy and generally high-pitched morn-ing
much used by others hurrying past
purposefully. (The same applies to
variations on a theme of evening.)
Used by older Northern men.
Emphasis is everything: good morning! springs from cheerful, I-like-to-be-up-enjoying-the-crisp-morning-air types, often accompanied by a couple of tail-wagging dogs. But good morn-ing signals a man who believes he could sell ice to eskimos and charm you into the bargain as he leers at you over his beer belly.
The emphasis is different here. The good evening dog walkers (who can be the good morning brigade out for an evening stroll) are much more relaxed winding down and enjoying the end of the day. However, good even-ing still thinks hes in with a chance.
Thats hard work!
without malice by smiling, middle-aged women. And, yes, it is.
Theres even a separate sub-group who manage to communicate silently:
This can vary from a shared joke (often other runners) to a wry, you-must-need-your-head-examined sort of smile.
Laughing while shaking head
Another you-must-need-your-head-examined type greeting.
This is more a case of rather you than me, but can alternatively mean youre completely bonkers!
Ive always taken this to mean, seeing you reminds me that Im overweight and in need of exercise, so why dont you just b***er off.
A nod, wave or a hand raised briefly
From runners who dont have the puff to say anything. (Weve all been there.)
runners who dont even have the energy to nod or wave. Not to be confused with panting (from dogs pulling on leads).
A brisk, friendly nod or a shy, inclining of the head
Both from sensitive men who are unsure of the politically-correct way in which to address a semi-clad
beetroot on legs as it runs past.
This can be disinterested,
disbelieving or downright, hate-the-world antagonistic (usually from someone accompanied by a Rottweiler or other big dog).
Grimace or leer
Almost exclusively used by fisherman along the riverbank.
Honking car horns
Men only again, most often those in white vans.
Bicycle bells or hooters
Sounded with a view to warning you to get off the path. (Have you noticed that the vast majority of so-called mountain bikers rarely deviate from paths onto the bank let alone onto mud or mountains?)
Whoever said that long-distance running was a lonely business?