I would like to say this is a new interesting 'add to your quality of life' type of post, but really? this is just going to be a podium on which I can vent things that really get on my goat (not that I have one) so if you don't like listening to moaning, I probably suggest you immerse your head in your pillow or click on that little cross in the top right.
This weeks, is An Ode to 'The Footpath Shouter'
Well short of relentlessly going on about my sodding running training again, we all know that I'm pretty much out n about when I can, to try and get the miles in my legs. Now, when I used to think about going 'for a run' my head was filled with images of me, seamlessly, and non-sweat induced, running along paths, with the wind gently tugging at my hair, me bouncing back off the pavements, with no distractions... nothing but me and the open road. Is this the reality? hell-to-the-no. Only yesterday, did I set off, armed to the hilt with my various gadgets to check my times, pace, how far I ran - pretty much every gadget short of running it for me. As the run progressed (in the sodding hot sun I have to add) I kinda 'expected' to come across a fair few amounts of people out, going for a walk, in what might of been our last day of Summer. Nothing unusual I hear you ask, well no, but what I did come to realise was the absolute lack of respect for runners on the pavements.
Now, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be heckled non-stop for picking on this subject, but bear in mind, I like walking on pavements too yknow. People are funny though aren't they? Majority of the people I become 'stuck' behind, did not have ipods or fingers in their ears and def no hearing aids, so tell me, why when I say 'Excuse me, would I be able to squeeze past' do they choose to ignore me? I try not to shout, as I find this scares them and can sometimes come across as a little, err, demanding, but no. The majority of them will quite happily stroll along ignoring my (nice) pleas. I have been known to slap my feet down a little harder on the pavement, maybe loudly hum to my (off) ipod, and even cough once or twice... but still nothing. I then have to, pounce like an obese, tired tiger, on to the road to go around them. I don't normally mind this, but if you have ever tried running in Cookham, there is barely room enough for a car, let alone some fool running along. I must add (before you all throw bananas at me) that I will always move out the way for families and women with pushchairs and prams, that's just the done thing. But one thing I hate the most, is teenagers or young adults who are walking in long red-rover like lines, therefore making it almost impossible to find a mere millimetre to squeeze my jiggling bum past. Since Ive been running on the road, I have been labelled 'Fatty' by many members of our English 'public', I've had a half eaten sandwich thrown at me from a passing car, a bottle of (empty) coke thrown from a rather 'nice'boy who obviously thought I was a bin man in my high viz running jacket. And only last week, was I spat on by a group of two boys and a girl - that's nice isn't it? I'm starting to wonder where the hell can a runner run? But, I have to be honest, the proverbial biscuit came yesterday, when on my normal running route, after asking nicely to be ignored and in mid over-take of four young 25+ females was I screamed at by one of them " THIS IS A FUCKING FOOTPATH" Now, I'm not sure about you, but I'm pretty sure humans weren't put on the Earth to speak in languages like that to one another. So in a quick glance round at her, she proceeded to stick her middle finger up at me and shouted the same thing at me again, with the rest of her friends acting mute. Now, I didn't say anything at the time - I'm a lover not a fighter. But it wasn't until I got home and thought.... I'm running with my feet, therefore I am using a footpath. Surely, me, running ( I use this term loosely after 6 miles!) with my feet, on a pavement, is doing just like the 'Footpath shouter' but like walking faster, still on a pavement.
Now I don't know why me running there made her so angry but it made me feel so sad that a free sport, like running, is being made to be completely un-fun when people who are mere walkers on the same paths, are treating us like this. Where's the common courtesy? where's the sisterhood? where's the mutual appreciation? what right does that lady have to shout that at me? Granted, some runners are not as considerate, but most of us are.
So to the Woman Footpath Shouter, this ode is to you. Thank you for ruining my run, ruining any good feeling I had about the Great British Public. I really hope that maybe one day you might see just how rude you really are.... I hope to see you next time I run.