City Street Running Etiquette


I run a lot on city sidewalks. In fact, I have to run quite a ways to get to Kelly Drive, the trail next to the Schuylkill River. I pass a lot of people while cruising down sidewalks – strollers, couples, pups, and of course, other runners.

So I’m curious…what do you consider polite when passing a fellow runner? What is your preferred mode of acknowledgement, if any?

Personally, I may give a quick little smile, but mostly choose to look ahead and focus. I mean, really, what game am I playing? I’m no hardcore in-the-zone 7-minute pacing runner (not that I don’t want to be).

I’m normally having an inner battle where I start off convincing myself that I’m a beast of athleticism and 9 miles are nothing… Two miles go by, I have to convince myself that I feel good. 7 more miles? Pshhh… 4 miles down and almost half way done. Jesus how am I going to run all of this AGAIN, plus another mile?!?!… 6 miles in and I can’t feel my legs very much. They’re machines that keep chugging and I really hope I don’t trip over a loose cobblestone (again)…. 8 miles. I’m now beyond the most distance I’ve run this far in my training and my body appears to go into survival mode automatically. I don’t care if I look like a flailing Gumby, I’m finishing this… Done. That last mile was an ugly one. I just hope the people observing that last leg could at least look past my apparent incoordination and empathize with a runner who’s attempting to complete her milage.

So why can’t I just put down my running guard and wave or say hi to a fellow runner? Well, no one else seems to do this. From what I’ve seen, friendliness among strangers doesn’t really come out until race day- when the training is over and everyone is excited to finish what they all deserve. Is it the fact that the hard training miles are behind us? That we need the little extra encouragement to finish 13.1? Maybe this is just a symptom of training in a city, where most people keep to themselves anyway. Who knows, but that is what I’ve observed.


I’ve gotten a couple high-fives and smiles on my training runs, but not many. However, we’re all most likely struggling a bit. I can’t be the only one in my inner battles, right? Right!?!?!

I’m interested to hear what you’ve all experienced. Let me know!

(images via 1, 2)

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2 thoughts on “City Street Running Etiquette

  1. For me, whether I acknowledge other runners depends on what part of the run I’m at. In the beginning, sure I smile and wave. At the end, I don’t even see other runners because I’m too close to blacking out. But this happens at mile 3 for me, not mile 9, so…you’re pretty awesome!

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