My Rant: Make way, dammit!

A common courtesy rant for other runners out there.

Whenever I run a track or a trail I seem to wind up running into people who don’t understand right of way. Sometimes literally running into them.

On trails you get your large groups of walkers who all feel the need to walk abreast. Fair enough, but I’m moving fast, I’m winded, and I need to get past. So I’ll yell “track” as best I can, and then I’m coming through. Most people are generous enough to make room, some even apologize, which is completely unnecessary. But what’s up with these people who just look at me like I’m an asshole and keep walking? Do they think I’m going to abandon my marathon training and walk behind them until we’re out of the park? Do they think I’m going to jump into the ditch or through the trees to get past them? Fuck no. I’m coming through, and I’m not shy of body-checks.

On the track: people, it’s simple. The inside lanes are for the fastest runners. Just like the left lane of the street is for faster drivers. (Though not everybody has mastered that concept either) The whole purpose is so that people don’t have to shunt lanes all the time, less hassle, less chance of collision, etc. So don’t walk or trot on the inside lane, but if you must, don’t get pissy when I pass you on the inside every two minutes rather than running out to the fifth lane to get around your four-abreast waddling club. And guess what? If you don’t leave enough room on the inside for me, we’re going to collide, and you’re the one who’s going to be taken by surprise.

What really blows my mind though, is these unconventional thinkers who decide to run a track clockwise. The markings are set to be read counter-clockwise. The other 20 people here today are moving counter-clockwise. Every fucking running track, horse track, dog track, ice rink, roller rink and swimming lane in the world moves counterclockwise, so what makes you so fucking special?

I’ve wound up playing chicken with a few of these fucknuts, and I’ve never backed down. I’ve given you the friendly reminder and I’ve given you the warning, the third time around I’m not moving an inch or slowing down a hair to let you past. I’ve had a couple of heavy hits this way. It’s very satisfying. If they don’t start running the right direction, at least they stay out of my lane.

I have to say, I respect anyone who’s outdoors and doing any kind of exercise, no matter what speed. Just learn the rules, fer christ’s sake.

Anyone else have some running rants? Gym rants?

I’ll just add that I had similar experiences in high school where clouds of freshman would get thrown aside like so many bowling pins after disregarding my need to get through.

And I agree, it’s very satisfying. :smiley:

I do this sort of thing every morning, on the escalator that leads to the metro platform.

I yell “sorry!”, which is Dutch for “Excuse me”, oddly enough. Well, it also means “Sorry”, but I digress.

“Sorry” means: move the fuck to the RIGHT. The RIGHT side is for standing. That is SO universal, it’s even done thusly in England, for fucks sake. Failure to do so within one second will result in a gentle (varying from truly gentle to kidney-splitting) nudge.

Deal with it. Punks.

I feel for ya, pal. Ranks right down there with people who don’t observe the lane rules for swimming laps. Hey, honest confusion and first mistakes are one thing–anybody can mess up–but most people learn. If nothing else they can watch what other people are doing and adapt.

Innocent mistakes are one thing; arrogant obliviousness is another.

Reminds me of the ugly–but hilarious–scene at a car drop-off at O’Hare airport. A group of debutante sorority types sending off a group of friends tied up 2 lanes double-parking while they hugged, squealed, chattered, squealed some more. Forget the traffic backup, blaring horns, everyone else: they were bonding! (flounce!)

They were very offended by the pungent comments of cabbies and hurried travellers stupidly wanting to go about their own tedious business.

Sorry, rambled again.

I encounter this sort of thing on my college campus. We have REALLY narrow sidewalks–absolutely no room for even two people to walk abreast and allow space for those moving in the opposite direction. I’ve found that, instead of pushing through them (which is kind of hard to do when you’re just walking), I stop dead in my tracks in the middle of the sidewalk so they have to a) walk single-file or b) step out into the road.

Kind of rude, I know. But if they’re THAT intent on talking, they should take the shuttle bus. It’s free to students, and (in this weather) more comfortable than walking.

Hey, I’m with ya about the trail running in public parks, babe. What really irritates me is all those friggin’ families and school groups walking along the trail as if their stupid nature hike were more important than my training! Jeez, if these freaks want nature, can’t they go enjoy it some other place than a public trail? And what’s with the stupid stares I get when I scream “track” at the idiots? You’d think, since everyone has spent enough time training for intramural events that the etiquette is universally known, it would be perfectly clear to them that means “jump out my way or I’ll commit assault.” Dolts.


Whoa, Xeno, very scathing, though I’ll grant that the BBQ pit is the perfect forum for sarcasm.

By the same token, I put this rant in the pit so I could overgeneralize, distort, whine and cuss. That’s what a rant is all about. Obviously I’m not talking about running down schoolchildren and families on nature treks. Every trail I’ve been to, the ratio of runners to walkers is about one to one. These people I’m speaking of are not ignorant of the fact that people need to get past them, they are obstinate and deliberately obstructive. They are also invariably adults, and nine times out of ten bigger than me.

Actually, dave99, I agree with you about the obstinate ones who refuse to move out of your way. That’s inexcusably rude and pigheaded. My point (which, I have to say, was made quite gently by 'Pit standards) was that one should expect to encounter a high proportion of walkers on a public trail, at least in my experience. If you’re seeing a ratio of 1:1 runners to walkers, that’s fairly unusual.

I could offer a counter rant here about the number of times I’ve seen impolite and even dangerous behavior from runners, but I won’t. Obviously you make an effort at politeness and fair warning. I would just ask that you be aware that the people walking a trail don’t think of themselves as obstacles; they are not walking on your track; you are running along their trail.

And BTW, should you encounter me on one of your runs, I’ll get out of your way, as I always do for runners (even if they don’t bother to give warning — I have good hearing and reflexes), but you may wish to find another warning besides “Track!” (Maybe “Hot Soup!” ?)

I’d have to say that as long as you yell SOMETHING and people turn around and see you coming, if they don’t move out of the way they deserve to get hit. If you just run through people from behind with no warning that’s not very nice. Even if I didn’t know what “Track!” meant (which I didn’t before today) I would see someone running towards me and move aside.

Point well taken, xeno.

And please, do share your rant.

Well, I’m not really perturbed enough to give it a worthwhile rant. And now, since you’re being so reasonable (you bastard), I’m insufficiently ticked off at you to generate any vitriol in general.

Sorry, Pitizens. I feel so… mild.

I’m there, too, dave99, although I’m a bicycle rider. While we usually try to stick to roads to avoid the walkers/joggers/rollerbladers, sometimes we must share the same path. I’d like to add that the only paths I use are labeled “Bike Path,” yet walkers cover the path from one side to the other. When we approach the “both sides now” groups, we slow down and ring our bike bells. Usually they wake up and move to the right, but you’re right, there are a certain segment that just stare at you open-mouthed like you were riding nude. And don’t get me started on folks who think that 3 year olds are coordinated and responsible enough to ride tricycles on a public bike path. Even if they didn’t care about the safety of other people, you’d think they’d care about their toddlers not getting hit by a cyclist around a blind curve.