The trail etiquette constitution

by keeprunningstrong

This is how rules are made, with a group of aristocrats shouting at each other.

A long time ago, a group of rich men came together to discuss ideas of how to govern and lead our great nation. In this meeting, they taught the people of the land the importance of establishing guidelines. Here I am today, putting forth my ideas to govern the rules of the trail.

Trails occupied by runners, bikers and walkers sometimes can lead to social complexities. The etiquette for different athletes sharing a venue isn’t clearly defined. And when dealing with levels of adrenaline that athletes produce, a discussion about proper trail etiquette should transpire.

I offer in this post my ideas for proper etiquette when hitting the running /biking/walking/jogging trail. And I hereby dub the henceforth ideas, The Trail Etiquette Constitution …. Seriously.

  1. Passing a slower runner on the trail can feel awkward. Am I being rude if I just zoom by a fellow runner? With this in mind, when passing a fellow runner or jogger, if coherent, I usually like to give a mild nod to let them know I acknowledge their effort. At times I might even try and encourage a runner to a little bit of a race, but I’ve yet to encounter anyone who would join me (am I being rude by offering up a race?).
  2. When sharing the trail with bicyclists, maintain to the outer edge of the trail. Bicyclists seldom let you know they’re going to pass (sometimes they might yell “LEFT”, but not often), and if you’re hogging the trail while one swishes by, the consequences could hurt. So … make way for the speed demon on two wheels.
  3. Encountering a surprise friend on the trail might suggest to a person to stop and enquire about their lives, but when I’m running I don’t like to stop. Please don’t assume someone you know is being rude, if in passing they lend a mute nod, symbolizing a hello.
  4. The emergence of digital music on devices like IPods have lead to a revolution in listening to tunes while working out. Keeping the volume level low enough to hear people passing, falling or shouting for help might be a good idea. To observe your surroundings is a wise idea.
  5. I know we get sweaty and smelly when we work out, and that’s fine. It’s something we workoutaholics have to deal with. But please, the attire you choose to wear should stay on your body. I once saw a guy jogging in nothing but what I assume were Speedo’s and shoes. He grossed me out, and the guy was in my view for most of the run. Please, unless at the beach, keep your clothes on.
  6. When running with a partner, stay together at least until the last mile of the run. There’s nothing wrong with a little competitive spirit, but what’s the point of running with someone if you’re not going to enjoy each other’s company. This rule is void if the parties running agree to a race.
  7. This suggestion is tough. But, refrain from laughing at the inline skaters. They’re people with feelings just like anybody else.
  8. Stay clear from people walking their pets. When you get too close, your presence might freak out the animal. And don’t assume they will get out of your way. Which leads me too …
  9. Don’t assume running groups will open a lane for you, like the parting of the Red Sea. Just go around them. But if they do, make sure you give them a friendly nod to show them your appreciation.
  10.  I can’t think of a tenth rule, but I needed to add a number 10 to make this list seem legit.

That’s it. The governing body of the United Web (my dog, daughter and wife) has granted me the authority to establish a set of principles guiding etiquette while strolling local community trails. The rules are written in stone, and unless granted by a majority in the panel (me, and me alone) who created these rules, they shall not be changed. But posting your own ideas below are encouraged and will be taken into consideration.

Now go forth and run.

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