Running with Rhyno: Don’t be a jerk on the trail

You runners … need to …. blah, blah, blah …. share the road!

Hello. What?

A man rode up beside me and proceeded to give me a lecture on runners wearing earbuds on the trail.

I was fiddling with (coincidentally) my earbuds near the side of the road by the 67th Street Bridge.

At first, I thought the cyclist was someone I knew who wanted to say hello.

Nope. He was on a clear mission to give me a piece of his mind. He had something to say and I was his captured audience. On and on, he went on about runners who do not pay attention to their surroundings. You runners need to wear only one earbud so you can hear the cyclists coming. You runners need to be considerate. You runners need to share the road. Blah. Blah Blah.

I was not even running. I was not standing in the middle of the path nor was I holding up traffic. I was taking a breather (in the disguise of messing with my earbuds) after climbing a short hill.

I had been running for nearly two hours, and I was starting to count down the kilometres until I was home.

I was not in the mood for unsolicited advice.

So when this well-intended cyclist decided to rip into me, I didn’t exactly respond in my usual sunny way. It’s all a little blurry but I remember saying something like sure, sure and finished with some unpleasantries. Call it my bout of run rage.

Dear cyclist, sorry I lost my cool.

But there is a much way to talk to a runner and it doesn’t begin with “you runners!” Lumping all runners into one group is wrong. It would be the same if, I were to say “you cyclists!”

We runners tend to get our backs up because we have had our fair share of inconsiderate behaviour and bad manners on the trail.

Take for example the cyclist who decides he’s in the Tour de’ France and barrels down a hill – in the middle of the trail – without any thought to the pedestrians.

Ever hear of on-street bike lanes?

Or consider the family strolling five people across the trail leaving no room for anyone else to pass. Completely oblivious, they act all surprised and even angry when you run through them.

I could go on and on about the annoyances that runners face in the city. The pathways can be a conflict zone for everyone. But I am just so happy to be outside enjoying the weather that I just shrug off the minor inconveniences.

However I don’t want to in anyway downplay the safety issue here. There are definite safety concerns.

Spring’s here and with it comes nicer weather. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed more and more people coming out of hibernation and into the park systems.

We’re fortunate that the City of Red Deer boasts more than 100 kilometres of multi-use and recreation trails for walking, running, in-line skating and cycling.

Let’s share the path and enjoy Mother Nature.

Remember stay on the right, pass on the left. Yield. Be aware of your surroundings.

And … this is the most crucial piece of advice – if you see someone breaking the “rules”, take a deep breath.

Smile. If you must, point out the offending behaviour. No need to lecture. We’re all in it together.

****

Find Running with Rhyno on Facebook and @CrystalRhyno on Twitter. Crystal Rhyno is a certified NAASFP running coach and mentor. Send your column ideas, photos and stories to crhyno@reddeeradvocate.com

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