In general, runners are usually awesome, delightful, and friendly people. That is why I find it odd at times that a fellow runner may run by you from the other direction and not even acknowledge you. Fortunately, I would say 90% of the people I run by will at least grunt out something, but this doesn’t seem to be universal etiquette. From my experience, runners greeting each other also seems to be more prevalent in the suburbs or rural areas than in the higher density urban areas. And I can understand when running in a crowded area, greeting every fellow runners is just not practical and may be a bit silly if you have to say hello every 30 seconds – but this is not normally the case.
I’m a pretty extreme introvert, but find it only natural to give a nod, smile, and cheery ‘good morning’ greeting. I’ll also try to throw a little wave in there in case they are wearing headphones. When I pass someone and they return the greeting, it puts a little more pep in my step and makes me feel a little more connected to others. If someone totally ignores me or stares back and gives me an odd look, it makes me wonder, but I have pretty thick skin, so don’t dwell on it too much. Regardless of the risk of being ignored, it doesn’t stop me from being human and continuing to say hello first every time I see a fellow runner out on the streets.
A simple hello or smile from a stranger can brighten another person’s day in ways we may never know. I especially make it a point to say a hearty hello to someone who looks like they may a newbie or struggling to lose some weight. Many of us experienced runners tend to forget it takes a lot of courage for someone to get out there and start running for the first time, especially when they may be very self-conscious. It doesn’t cost a dime, and who knows, that simple but sincere greeting could turn someone into a lifetime runner.