We near the end of another week, and with one more long run to go in the morning, I will probably recap on the week’s training tomorrow. ‘Coz I know your week wouldn’t be the same without these regular updates…
But just a quick one on a running-related matter.
I run in the local park a lot, and if not in the local park, then along a nearby canal bank, and in another public park a few miles away. So I meet and pass a lot of other park users. And as our parkrun® directors are keen to point out, ‘we do not have exclusive use of the park’.
So the usual suspects for getting under your feet are dogs and their owners. The worst offenders are the ones with tiny dogs on extendable leads, where the owners are yabbering away on a mobile phone whilst Pudsey is sniffing a pile of dogshit on the other side of the path, thus rendering the way through tricky if not impossible. Unless limbo and/or hurdles are part of your regime; more likely you will just become a statistic as the only jogger to be garroted by a Jack Russell.
Other dog owners have a strange habit of calling their hounds to heel at the worst possible time. We approach each other. I see you have six large Labradors off their leads. They see me. All is well. There are no problems. We are all sentient beings here, on our own wonderful journey. They want to sniff bums and pee on trees (the dogs, not the owners), whilst I want to sweat copiously and eat liquid sugar from a tiny wrapper. I too may pee on trees, if there’s no one around. But what creates calamity is when the owner suddenly shouts at their dogs just as we are about to cross paths. Half a dozen heavy hounds turn tail and suddenly all bets are off, and you must leap and contort your already tired body into multiple shapes to avoid crashing to the ground. Just stay out of it, okay? We can work this shit out without you getting involved. Your dogs are smarter than
you you give them credit for.
Other serial offenders are the gaggle of women; walking about in gangs, always dressed for running, but never doing so. They also all seem to suffer from hearing conditions. Yeah, yeah, yeah. All complaints can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
But nonetheless all are forgiven. We are all park-users here, and at the end of the day, a light cough behind a human road blockage, or a delicate scuff of the heel as you approach is normally all that is required for you to be on your way. And I will always acknowledge your (tardy) generosity with a cheery wave and ‘thank you’. And in the spirit of fairness, I suspect more than a couple of bikers have cursed my good name when they realise the idiot in front of them is wearing earbuds and can’t hear their approach.
The ones I can’t abide are joggers.
As we approach, I always give the nod. The little wave of recognition. A gentle smile. Some form of visual or audible signal that, yes, my brother, my sister: we are all in this struggle together. You may be a superb three-hour marathoner; you may be on a couch-to 5k journey. It matters not. What matters is that we are both out here, sweating it, getting fit, and putting in some miles. That’s what matters.
The least you could do is wave back, you miserable bollocks.
Some days, I get back home and check the mirror to make sure I haven’t inadvertently worn my “All Joggers Are Wankers” T shirt.*
* Just to be clear, I have no such T shirt, but lately I am giving it serious consideration. Also, to the one runner (See? if you wave, you’re a runner; if you don’t, I use the pejorative ‘jogger’) who did nod today, I say thank you. To the other four or five: I hope you stand in dog shit and drag it all the way home. You miserable sods.