Just 28 days before the London Marathon. I wrapped a 3h 40min run today, albeit a slow run. I climbed and descended every flight of stairs on every bridge from Wandsworth to Tower Bridge along the way – I make that 13 bridges but, after a few, I wasn’t really counting. The Garmin says just under 34km.
The MarathonFoto people took some shots at the Liverpool Marathon and here’s tbe best one (it was an easy choice, at least I was looking vaguely at the camera for this one).
When I’m running I make it a habit to smile at, say hello to or at least nod to other runners as I pass them. With the marathon looming, there are ever more people out on the streets. In London, on average, about 40% of people return the greeting. On a rainy day, it moves up to about 50% and, on a holiday (my favourite days to run are Xmas Day and New Year’s Day) it might hit 60% (only real nuts are out on these days so there must be some kind of shared bond). For the most part, those who don’t respond either immediately look away or perhaps they weren’t looking in the first place.
In Las Vegas 2 or 3 weeks ago, the response rate was 95% and nearly everyone called out a greeting rather than just nodding. In Paris, when I was last running long runs about 7 years ago, the famously uninterested Parisian people were more friendly than Londoners, likewise the Viennese a couple of years before that.
It bothers me that runners don’t greet each other – after all, we’re sharing a similar experience, no matter the level of runner. With London 2012 coming in just a few short years, there is, I think, a need for Londoners to learn to embrace each other if not physically then with greetings. We are going to play host to the world’s largest sporting event with visitors and athletes coming from every country we’ve ever heard of and many we haven’t. If we treat them as we treat ourselves, the experience will be less than great for them all. And that will hurt our international reputation.
In over 550km run since September 1st 2005, I’ve said hello to a lot of people. Here’s my graph of weekly km run (bit anal I know, but how else are you to figure out whether you’re in shape to run a marathon?):
It would be naive to expect everyone to say “hello” to everyone else – after all, when was the last time anyone spoke to you on a tube (nuts excluded)? Or in a lift? But runners saying “hi” to other runners? Doesn’t seem like a stretch to me.