Run, Forrest, run!

Hands up any runner who has NOT had this apparently hilarious phrase yelled after them..


For some reason, runners are often subject to harassment when out pounding the pavement, and a little incident yesterday got me wondering why that should be. Handsome Husband and I had finally managed to get out on our long run and had completed a pleasant 4 miles or so on sidewalks around our neighbourhood when our planned route took us out into nearby countryside and farmland where there are no handy sidewalks. Usually there isn’t much passing traffic on this wide road, and yesterday was no exception, although we were running in single file anyway. Two vehicles in separate incidents ‘buzzed’ us, getting close enough to spray us with gravel. Handsome Husband, who thinks he can take anyone on, gave them both rather a rude sign (this really freaks me out as I’m sure someone will come back and punch him one day) although luckily they appeared not to notice. The rest of the run went by pretty smoothly apart from a couple of glares from people who were obliviously meandering across the pathway and were clearly annoyed when we ran past, accidentally startling them. (Note to various users of public sidewalks and pathways… if you don’t want to jump out of your skin, take your ear buds out and be aware of other users)

After the most awesome shower (isn’t it great how a hot shower is a million times better after a run in the cold?) I was reading my facebook and twitter updates and found stories of other people being harassed on their runs, and forums such as Runners World are full of such stories. Why do people feel runners are such fair game? My theory is that maybe they feel guilty as we are doing something that perhaps they know they should be doing but can’t or won’t and so react with anger.

Here is  a short list of some of the issues I have faced:

Yelled at in a non threatening way- the run, Forrest, run type of comment.

Buzzed by vehicles, often throwing grit/slush/water onto me.

I once had a man scream abuse at me because I was on a marked crosswalk and he didn’t think he had to stop as he was pulling a trailer.. That one shook me up a lot as his anger was really scary.

Teenagers with ‘smart’ comments who often try and race me. I always challenge them to run a mile with me and funnily enough they always back off.

Oh and I did have a car drive into me once, although that was because the driver was looking the other way and I wasn’t hurt so doesn’t really count as harassment!

I would be really interested to know if you have endured any kind of harassment, either friendly or not so friendly, and what did you do about it? Did you retaliate or ignore it and did it make you change your running routes at all?

Let’s be careful out there!


2 thoughts on “Run, Forrest, run!

  1. Just last weekend, I had a truck nearly run me off the side of the road (which was in a high school parking lot, and I was in the walker/biking lane) and then yell back at me to ‘watch it.’ It did shake me up quite a bit and made me much more paranoid and aware of everything as I completed the run, which isn’t a bad thing, I guess.

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