Why Won’t (Some) Runners Wave?

I’m not the most outgoing person around. I try to never be rude, but I’m not the one who makes small talk on elevators. I’ll make eye contact and nod, but that’s really about it. If others on board want to chat, I’ll chat, but I follow their lead. My Myers Briggs profile tells me I am an introvert. But I don’t understand runners who refuse to make eye contact and give a little “runner’s wave.”

I did a three-miler yesterday and a five-miler today. I was on a greenway that is frequented by runners, bikers, people on roller blades, people walking dogs…you get the idea. There were quite a few people out there. Without exception, every walker I passed gave me a nod or a wave. About half the runners did likewise. And then there were the non-wavers. There is no way these people did not see me running towards them. Yet they refuse to make eye contact, much less wave. When I refer to waving, I’m not talking about wildly gesticulating. I do what’s known as a runner’s wave. My arm remains bent at a 90-degree angle. I simply uncurl my fist and straighten my fingers. When said wave is over my hand goes back into a fist. It takes less than two seconds and I don’t break my stride. I doubt I burn an extra .10 calories with this wave. Here’s a pictorial demonstration of the runner’s wave.

Now, really. Is that so difficult?

I remember a day in 2008 when I was training for my first half-marathon. I was doing a 6-mile loop. About a third of the way in, an adorable 20-something young man was running towards me. He stretched his arm out to give me a side-five (as opposed to a high five). He was a complete stranger and he didn’t say a word. But that simple gesture of support meant the world to me. As I was finishing up that run he passed me again, and gave me another side-five. That was two years ago and I still remember the day.

I completely understand those who are on the greenway doing time-trials and training for an event where they hope to have a PR (personal record). But really, how about a little encouragement for the rest of us who are just plodding along trying to lower our weight, cholesterol and blood pressure? If you’re a non-waver, post a comment and explain your position on this burning issue. I really want to understand your perspective.

And if you see me out there on the greenway, even a little nod will do.

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1 Response to Why Won’t (Some) Runners Wave?

  1. Brian says:

    Thank you, Pam. I’ve never understood that either. I’m looking forward to hearing what the non-waivers have to say about it!

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