What's wrong with pavements?

I have found a new running bugbear recently... it will be added to the list of wind, icy pavements, lazy motorists who don't indicate and GPS watches that can't pick up the satellite signal.

RUNNERS WHO RUN ON THE ROAD WHEN THERE'S A PERFECTLY SUITABLE PAVEMENT RIGHT NEXT TO THEM!

Why?!?! Do they do it just to annoy motorists? Do they get annoyed with minor fluctuations in the elevation of the pavement? I have seen several different runners recently doing this and they are giving the rest of us a bad name!!!

18 Replies

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  • Never seen that!

  • Hmm must admit I run in the road but re join the path when cars are coming , the road surface tends to be a more even surface, pavements have variable chambers and ups and downs , thats my excuse    ;) 

  • Yes Ive seen this and wondered why, until I realised that yes the road surfaces are more smoother ! :-) xxx

  • I do that too when pavements are up and down and sloping.  I always get out of the way for cars though!  Most of my runs are on country roads where there aren't any pavements, and then I leap into the hedge - experience has taught me to dive double quick if it's an Audi or a BMW!

  • Oops! Like Rob, I have done this but only when the road is clear and I always hop back on to the pavement if a car comes. 🙂

  • Depends what you call "a perfectly suitable pavement"? My standard morning route includes a patch where the pavement just disappears, turning into an uneven, rocky track. I run on the road there, but hop back onto the track if a car or bike comes. 

  • You should come running around the virtually car-free Port Sunlight village with me :-)

    Even worse... I run in the MIDDLE of the road!

    The pavements are old and awful - it's like a concrete trail run. No thanks!

    Guilty as charged m'lud.

    Having said that , I never wear headphones and always acknowledge motorists approaching towards me or from behind.

    Never had a problem so far.

    The roads have a huge camber so if can run in the middle safely, I do. But only in the village. Wouldn't do it anywhere else.

  • They do it for their knees

  • They could be running long distances and need to look after their legs.  There is a running club called Road Runners locally, guessing they run on roads rather than the paths!  Each to their own.  As for me, I prefer the fields and woods so you won't be seeing me running on the road anytime soon!

  • I can really feel the difference, I run on pavements in UK and road in France, I think the pavement is harder...

  • I sympathise... and yet sometimes the pavements are very uneven, so I sort of see why people do it.  Personally, I don't (unless there isn't a pavement, of course :D) but I dislike the uneven camber where there are drives and entryways, and I HATE the bits where lazy people haven't trimmed their hedges on the outside of their properties so you're running along and suddenly get hit in the face with a twig or branch you haven't noticed. 

  • I run on pavement and, at least in my area, the pavement is maintained at a much lower standard than the road. Furthermore it is often littered with obstacles, from cars half-parked on it to trash bins to the aftermath of a storm (roads are cleared by the council, pedestrian pathways aren't 😡), and in some areas it simply doesn't exist. So I can understand why someone prefer to run on the road and I'd do the same if I'd feel it was safe enough here.

    Unfortunately, it seems that pedestrians and their needs are never considered when planning new roads or improving existing ones... :(

  • A common runners' ailment comes about from running on cambered roads, facing oncoming traffic, with your right foot constantly an inch or two below your left. Better to get some trail shoes and find the really uneven surfaces......much better for your legs.

  • Confession- I do it sometimes as I run v early in the morning when there isn't much traffic and the road is undulation free!!!!

  • The running club i go out with sometimes, everyone runs on the road, and i dont think the pavements are that bad around here! 

    Maybe one day i will ask them. 

  • I think the issue here is that roads are made of asphalt, which is a softer and more forgiving surface than the concrete used for pavements. This article explains in a bit more detail: runnersworld.co.uk/general/...

  • I probably meet about 1 car per hour on my runs. If there is a grass verge then I move to that when a car approaches, if on the other hand I am running against a wall then I ensure that I am 0.5m from the wall so that I have somewhere to go if the car comes too close to me.

    I always run on the path if there is one.  I know what IannodaTruffe means about camber. There is a 2km stretch of the north levee of the Loire that I run along which has a slope from one side to the other, it slopes downwards away from the river.  I'm always pleased when I get past that.

    Although I can't see the point of running on the road if there is a path if the two surfaces are the same, I do understand if one is tarmac, and the other is concrete.  I feel concrete is much harder and more tiring than tarmac.  

    My run takes me over a variety of surfaces.  50% of my route is a path of smallish grit over packed mud, I find this the best of all.  As the season progresses, the finest grit gets washed onto the grass at the edge of the path, and this strip becomes the very best place to run :) 

  • I still think the risk-reward ratio is skewed massively towards the former. I live in a town where traffic is not negligible and the roads are not wide. It would only take a momentary lapse in concentration for a nasty, yet avoidable, accident to happen.