Running etiquette: Since starting running I have... - Couch to 5K

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Running etiquette


Since starting running I have noticed that very few other runners who I come across will acknowledge my existence. Just a smile or a hi would be nice as we met but no they don't even look at you. Has anyone else noticed this? Perhaps it's because I'm not running fast enough so they think I am not a serious runner or it could be that I am older. It could, of course, be that I live in an area where people are not so friendly, although I haven't noticed before. What are your thoughts on this or am being too sensitive?

23 Replies

Maybe just too focused on their running or the way the world is now they don't want to smile in case it's taken the wrong way I don't know. Just you keep smiling and maybe one day someone will smile back😊😊


The world is full of people wrapped up in themselves.

I always say hello to everyone I pass, which generally is not many, in deepest darkest Devon.

Just do it......... you might make their day.


Give them a “how do” or whatever the local dialect is next time you’re out and see what happens!

in reply to UnfitNoMore

We say “Aye aye” where I live, usually with a little nod. Not at all sure what it’s supposed to mean, but it certainly conveys an intention to be unthreatening . . .

in reply to ButtercupKid

Maybe you’re all sailors at heart?

in reply to UnfitNoMore

No, we don’t put any spritely naval enthusiasm into it ! 😄

It’s hard but I would try not to take it personally. It’s more a reflection of them than you (e.g. not serious or older)! Do you try to connect with others? Parents with toddlers on scooters or dog walkers? I find I get a better response from them as they are less focused. I do appreciate it can make the run much more enjoyable so must be frustrating.

So older runners are rude???!!

Not at all! Running queen said she was worried other runners weren’t smiling because she wasn’t perceived as a serious runner yet or simply because she was older.


I usually get a Good Morning from walkers, dog walkers and fellow plodders. Otherwise those fit, gracile striders do seem too wrapped up in themselves to acknowledge us mere mortals


Look up, big smile,


It nearly always works but some folk may have other things on their mind. We all run for our own reasons.

I once passed a quite serious young female runner, did as described above...... no response.

I saw her on that same river route a few days later. She was wearing a t shirt that said ....’Im having none of that s***’.

Im still not sure if it was aimed specifically at me 😳😳😳

in reply to Millsie-J

If I’m running that river route I sure hope I see you and not her! I guess her life can’t be in a good place. Although I could do with one of those t-shirts as I’m having to childmind one of my 6 grandchildren next week and nappy changing and dog walking are involved 😬


So ,much has been posted about this... I always smile and say hi, even if folk don;t answer. Some may be in their zone, just concentrating... and I do feel some folk are shy...:)

You just run and you smile..:)

I don’t think it’s unique to running and I am certain it isn’t because of your speed or age! I smile and say hello to people in life generally, sometimes get a cheery smile back, am sometimes ignored and sometimes stared at like I have grown two heads! Plus recently whilst running myself someone thought I ignored them, but I was so wrapped up in the music/the effort/breathing I wasn’t aware they were there! I try and make sure my earphones are a bit more conspicuous now so people realise I’m not intending to be rude. Also, I usually love a chinwag but I am finding sometimes that I just want to get into a rhythm and retreat into my little world whilst running... 🙂

I always smile or say hello or at least raise my hand to acknowledge other runners! Just keep smiling and keep running. :)

in reply to mcgurranhouse

Me too, and most people do the same . I find other people who are walking mostly move aside for me which is lovely of them. Maybe because I'm a panting sweaty mess and they feel I need all the help I can get!


I moved to Cumbria from Berkshire (where the berks come from) about 14 years ago, one of the first things I noticed was that even shop assistants were pleasant and smiled, and everyone you met said "y'orite?" (you all right?). If you didn't reply, you were the one out of place.

Different folks, different customs. But now I think like the Cumbrians.

Running is a funny old world, sometimes you have to be totally self absorbed - fighting the pain and the brain going "stop - you can't do this", and sometimes you are at such peace with the world as you cruise along you even say 'hi' to the sheep...

Keep smiling. Keep saying "y'orite". Do it for you.

Oops my mistake...didn't read post properly. Apologies x


I find most dog walkers & other joggers will nod & smile, especially if I do first. I judge whether they're going to make eye contact as I head towards them & always acknowledge if they look like they might! Like ktsok, I do also get wrapped up in my music/breathing/moving and am sure I sometimes ignore people accidentally. I was in London recently & was roundly ignored by everyone on the South Bank but I kept on smiling & nodding anyway, they probably realised I was a bumpkin up from the country! Happy running, keep smiling 🏃‍♀️😁

Its the same where I am, when I do see other runners ( which is rare ) they never speak, I always thought this odd. So now I always greet others with a cheerful 'Good Morning' or a wave of acknowledgement it usually gains a response.

I guess most people have ear buds in and are immersed in their own world, a smile or a nod though?!


I grew up thinking that runners were self-absorbed arses and I didn't want to be a self-absorbed arse. C25K showed me a way to make running my own without any of the elements I didn't care for.

I haven't always lived with the view in my profile and this is definitely a friendlier place than some, whether you are on foot or in the car... but I do notice the difference between runners and other people, you are less likely to get an acknowledgement and the tighter the Lycra and the more closely the body conforms to notions of perfection, the less likely it becomes. But when you do get a nod or a raised hand, it's special and very sweet to feel part of the same 'club'.

And if you pass someone twice and don't get an acknowledgement of your greeting the first time, you do generally get a faintly shame-faced but warm one the second.

What I particularly dislike is when those of us with dogs take steps to avoid the slightest impediment, or perceived impediment to others' progress and that doesn't get acknowledged.

Of course we now know there are times when someone is really giving it their all or off in the zone, and many are deeply shy or fearful... but every time we smile, nod, raise a hand, or say hello, we are doing our bit towards making the world a nicer place.

Ah, the age old question, how do you interpret silence? I always attempt eye contact, if the person looks at me, I probably say good morning or something and there is usually a response. If they look steadfastly ahead, I assume they are just ‘in the zone’ and so I respect their apparent desire to stick within their own bubble . No problem either way. Most people walking will exchange a greeting I find; other runners? Most say hello, but a fair percentage just run serenely on lost in their own thoughts, and I think “hope you are somewhere good.” 😊😊

Sometimes running takes us to an unexpected place in our head or emotions. Personally, running helped me to unlock anger and I would try to run through pretty isolated places as I would cry and scream under my breath while running. I use to look at my fellow runners and check if they are receptive for a nod, a smile or whatever. Some runners are really focused and don't wish to be distracted, just like swimmers. I don't think it's rudeness, just that we experience running differently and do it for different reasons.

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