Running Tales # 3: Running Etiquette 101


There are many difficulties a marathon offers. Aside from our own personal struggles trying to finish a 42.195 km event, we also have to bear in mind that we are running with a pack of other runners.  Though there is a common guide to proper etiquette during a marathon, I believe for the most part that runners are generally considerate at road races.  But once in a rare while you may encounter that occasional runner who may demonstrate extremely bad behavior like I have. 

Just before exiting the Queensboro Bridge Mile 15, there was this pack of 5 runners sporting similar yellow shirts with the Achilles logo who were walking (not running) on the bridge in a line thereby creating a human wall and making it difficult for others to get pass

Running Etiquette #1:  Run or walk no more than two abreast. If you are walking in a group, stay to the back of the pack and follow the two abreast rule. Do not group-hog the entire road/trail width and let others pass. 

The bridge was getting crowded with runners piling up that I tried to pass in a free and open space between them and just be on my way. Then out of the blue I felt someone shove me so hard that I almost got knocked down to the ground.  As I turned back to look at the guy, this person then shouts with a heavy European accent"...we are the Achilles Team nobody cuts between us".  And as if that wasn't enough, he says  "Fuck you" 3 times probably to make a point. 

Running Etiquette #2:  Move to the side if someone behind you says “excuse me” or “on you’re your right/left”.  If the person behind is giving you the heads up before passing,  it is proper race etiquette to let that person pass  without blocking their effort.

Other runners who witnessed the incident gave him odd looks while others shouted some snide remarks and "bleep" worthy comments of disgust and sarcasm as only New Yorkers could. 

It is true that runners may occasionally jostle, elbow, and even unintentionally shove each other out of the way especially at water stops or narrow spots along the course. This is most common in races with an extremely large number of participants. But to actually shove another runner intentionally simply because you didn't  want him to pass is the epitome of bad behavior and poor form. 

As much as I wanted so badly to confront him right then and there,  it took every ounce of self control to keep my cool and  decide to just let it go (for now) and continue on my run. After all, I came to NYC to run and not let some loser dampen my plans.  

A few days later and not wanting to let this issue pass without properly addressing it, I decided to send an email to Russel K. of Achilles International where in I relayed the incident and filed a formal complaint against their fellow member.  This was their response :

Apology accepted case close.

Running Etiquette #3:  Whatever happens during the race course,  a bit of self control and concern for others never hurts.  Keep it Calm. Run your race and just enjoy.