Keep your comments to yourself.

Helpful or irritating ?

Do some runners take advantage of the friendly social atmosphere of a race to be decidedly anti-social ?

We runners are a friendly bunch for the most part. At any given race introductions are made, stories are shared and experiences compared. But is there a darker side to that inviting atmosphere ?

Does it become a license for socially insensitive types to become a nuisance ?

During a recent 21k I was quite frankly shocked at how emboldened certain runners were to comment on everything from appearance to running form. I’m naturally shy myself, but even if I weren’t, I think I would be very loath to tell someone I’ve never met to “relax your hands”.

And I was, frankly, amazed to hear a guy in his 50’s tell a young runner that she had her hair up in a great style, and could he touch it. She tried to ignore him and was actually forced to evade him as he closed the gap to her in an attempt to touch her braids.

I’ll put that one down to simply a person with poor socials skills and/or boundary issues. And I since I don’t want to make this article all about sexism I’ll simply observe that there were more than one or two catcalls as a shirtless male race-leader came by.

The question I am trying to answer really is whether I’m just being overly sensitive or whether the excitement and energy of a race facilitates an environment where we stand for personal comments or interactions that we would not tolerate in daily life.

I’d be very interested in other runners experiences.

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