Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Understanding Runners

Do runners understand each other?  You bet! 

Do you smile?

When you’re out there on the footpaths, do you smile? When your feet fall into the rhythm, one after another, do you smile? When the person running towards you has a grimace of pain and determination on their face, do you smile? When the person running towards you nods their head in your direction, do you smile?

The runners smile. The nod. The acknowledgement. A shared understanding of so many things. A shared moment.   And every time I see someone running towards me I want to smile. I want to say “how awesome are we right now for being out here and running?!”. I don’t know their story. I don’t know what race they are training for. I don’t know if they’re just running for fun. I don’t know how many years they’ve been running for. I don’t know if they have been out there for 10 minutes or 2 hours. And they don’t know any of these things about me.

But when a fellow runner looks up and smiles it can mean the world. It can mean the difference between me stopping running because “I feel exhausted” and finding the mental strength to keep going despite what my legs are telling me. It can be the difference between me getting down on myself for not running as fast as I want to and feeling on top of the world because I am a runner, we are runners and we’re all out there.

Do you smile? A  lot of my fellow runners smile. Perhaps more than ever before. And maybe that’s why my running feels  so good. Because when you’re out there pounding the pavement alone, it’s nice to know that someone else is out there and for that brief exchange, they’re with you.  I know this because at the Nike Women's Half Marathon in Washington, DC in April I had this experience.
Around mile five, we had to cross a bridge over the Potomac River into Arlington, Virginia.  The women runners (and some men who were part of Team in Training; this was a women's only race) were doing high fives all the way across the bridge.  As we were crossing over, the runners coming back were encouraging us with high fives, words of encouragement and it was such a tremendous feeling to know that you weren't along in your quest to finish!  I wished that I had taken a picture of this because it was one of the most tremendous experiences I've ever had as a runner.  However, I was trying to PR for the race since it was my third half marathon.  My first was part of Team Challenge in Las Vegas in December 2012 and I was hurt and my second was the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February 2013 and I had pneumonia.  (Yes, I was crazy while running and finishing that half!).  So, I really wanted to have a great time since it was my first half marathon being healthy so few pictures.  I did manage to PR but did stop for a picture in front of our Capitol!   
So remember to smile, high five, give a word of encouragement because you'll as a runner you understand!


  1. Love this post. I love smiling and nodding at runners when we pass each other. The unspoken support says so much!

  2. Thanks, Courtney! I love smiling and nodding as well; keep running!! :)

  3. I always try to make sure to smile, wave, nod, say hi, anything to my fellow runners, but there are some runners that I have come across that just don't seem to want any acknowledgement. I try not to let it get to me. Maybe they're in the zone, maybe they're having a tough time, or maybe they just don't like to acknowledge others. I smile at strangers on the street, so why not carry that over into my running? I definitely think runners get each other. We are a strong community!

  4. Rachel: Great comment. Runners have baggage too! But smiling is a great way to communicate no matter what and we are RUNNERS STRONG!

  5. I love when other runners encourage each other in a race. I ran a small local, very hilly and hot half marathon several years ago and when people finished they cheered in the people still coming across the finish line. It was great!

  6. That's so wonderful and what a great way to encourage each other!

  7. I smile or nod (if I'm really struggling). I love that there is always acknowledgment!

  8. Jennifer: I love that as well; always an encouragement while running!


If you would like a response to your comment, please provide an email address and I would be happy to respond. Thank you.

Whole 30 (April 2018)

As a librarian, I'm always intrigued by books that are consistently checked out.  This was the case of  Whole30 .  So, I decided that si...