The Conundrum of a Runner’s Path Impeded: When your way is blocked you have a decision to make

You’re running along, fully in your zone, you look forward and BAM…impending pedestrian traffic jam. We’ve got a case of people walking four wide, no way to easily pass by, you’re faced with the blocked runner’s pivotal decision: What to do?
blocked runner
I do my best to always be a polite runner, I give people the benefit of the doubt for the most part, maybe they are unaware just HOW much sidewalk they are taking up. Perhaps they feel the need to monopolize the entire bike path.

I’m a fan of the subtle cough, pretend like you’d just be clearing your throat anyways and they just happen to be in earshot. I like the subtle hints.

If I’m in the middle of a hard workout or on the track I’ve got no qualms shouting, “Left” or “Track”. I’m annoyed but mostly for loss of breath…lol.

Though we ALL have those days, sometimes it’s toward the end of a run and unfortunately for the people who act as the straw to break the runners’ patience you have HAD it with people in your way. Enter the agitated runner who’s had their nerves worn thin thanks to a series of blockades through the course of their run.

We can find solace and acceptance here, among runner friends, to confess away our agitated runner sins, purge ourselves of guilt and repent. “I’m really not a mean person, it’s just that last mile, the pack of walkers on the full horizontal, I’d had to swerve just TOO many times before them.”

It’s okay my children, I’ve been there, I know the tough spot you’re forced into thanks to oblivious pedestrians.

You are forgiven.

1) How are you when you see a big blockade approaching when you’re running? Do you tend to be cordial?

2) When you SNAP is it usually relative to the kind of day you’ve had overall or what’s already happened in the run?

3) What’s the best story of a runner SNAPPING and unleashing on unsuspecting, blocking pedestrians you’re seen, heard, or *gasp* been a part of? We’ll call it a runner going over the edge. ;)

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16 thoughts on “The Conundrum of a Runner’s Path Impeded: When your way is blocked you have a decision to make

  1. I was having this conversation with someone the other day. I’m nice in real life, and then I run (or sleep…) and become uber bitch! I can’t handle it. I try so hard not to get in the way when I’m walking that I find it infuriating when people won’t move.

    I actually swore at a dog on my last long run! If they’re in front, I just let them know I’m there behind them. If they can see me and they don;t move…it’s war. Keep to the freakin’ left. (Or you know, right, if you’re American or whatever).

    Runners are usually great – it’s the social walkers who kill me. Also – your dog is your responsibility. As is your child and his stupid trike. And your hands.

    • haha…funny coincidence!! I SWEAR yesterday morning i got this little fluff ball terror of a dog snarling at me and when he lunged at me i gave the dirtiest look to the owner and yes, yelled at her. :P

  2. This just happened on my last run! Walkers (teens) coming right at me, taking up the whole sidewalk. I maintained eye contact and smiled at the one who was directly in front of me as I stepped of the sidewalk to let him get by. He clued in finally as he walked passed and yelled “Sorry!” People are oblivious. I did almost take out someone’s child though as I was running downhill at the very end of my run (again they were walking toward me) and the boy just stepped right out in front of me. Good times.

  3. I try to move into the street when there are people in my way. I guess I’ve never encountered people in my way on a bike path. The ones I run on are pretty wide, and people tend not to walk them in groups of more than two. I feel like I deal with dogs in my way as often as I do people… but I love dogs, do I usually end up slowing down to say “hi”. ;)

    If my run is going poorly, it’s probably because my day is going poorly (I’m tired or not feeling well anyway or HUNRGY). If I’m going to snap on a run, I’ve probably been snapping at my poor boyfriend all day already. Being hungry is the worst. It makes me so grumpy but I like to give myself a full two hours after eating before I run because my stomach is pretty touchy.

    Once I was driving my car and stopped at a stop sign. The person across the street from me went, and then I went just a second later so traffic was staggered a bit. This runner came out of nowhere (awkward hill coming up to the intersection) and ran right in front of my car. There was no way I could have seen her and, frankly, she was practically begging someone to hit her, but she looked like she was about to throw a fit at me for not being able to see through the other car. Luckily I was able to just drive away without dealing with her.

  4. I’m such a pussy. I totally live on the left side of that wheel. Unlike my husband … a non runner who got coerced into doing a half marathon (by me of course). Anyway in the final few hundred meters (near a busy finish line) some people crossed our path. I was just so elated to have ran a race with him I totally ignored the colourful language he used to voice his disgust. He lost it!

    I joked the other day that I want to put a bell on the pram. I was only half joking though. Totally practical…saves my breath and sends a clear unmistakeable message “watch out – coming through!”

  5. One of the parks I run at has very high pedestrian traffic, I generally just swing wide. Although I do occasionally get annoyed when its 4-5 people wide, especially if they see me well in advance and still don’t move.

    I’m generally a nice person, so it takes A LOT to make me mad. The best incident I had was when I was doing a workout on the track in lane one. This soccer guy kept standing in lane one, so the first couple of times I went around him and gave him a look. So I thought if he didn’t move the next time I would just run through him. So I come by the next time, he glances back and sees me, doesnt move. So I literally just plowed into him. He fell down, I kinda stumbled and almost fell. He started cursing, I told him to f*ck himself, end of that. haha. But I had to do it for all my fellow runners.

  6. I am generally polite when I run, and in most other life situations. When I face a block of people I tend to swing wide with a rather loud ‘Excuse me sir/ma’am’ and then get on with my run.
    There is one exception: during a race. I am not the fastest of runners, and I am not aiming to win first prize. In fact the only person I am really racing against is myself. But when I come across someone who likes to run/walk and they insist on overtaking me during the run portion and then stop in front of me during their run portion I make rather annoyed noises and swing my elbows a little wider. Just pull over to the left people. Please.
    Probably the most infamous incidence of this was when Jess and I were running a 10k earlier this year and one particular girl kept overtaking/slowing and I might have threatened violence against her person…luckily only Jess heard me…

    • if i were there i woulda slapped that annoying overtaker/slower-downer for u!! ugh, i can’t stand when people can’t settle in a pace (unless they are doing a fartlek! haha) and it interferes with the pace i want to go. next time threaten them a little louder…bwahhaha!

  7. Teehee, I will confess to seriously misjudging things and ending up in the bushes or nearly coming off the side of the path or other clumsy things that I do far too easily for my liking. I’m probably better off being pushy but I don’t seem to have that in me! My other, related gripe is having to cross roads and stop for traffic. Ugh.

  8. I rarely approach people on the sidewalk, but when I do, I usually just go around. It’s usually older people so yelling left or ramming into them doesn’t feel like the appropriate option.

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