Running Aloof

I'm from Australia and have been living and running in the UK for the past 18 months. I've noticed runners here tend to be much more aloof than Oz runners - instead of a wave or g'day, most UK runners I encounter stare straight ahead or anywhere else to avoid eye contact. I'm fairly certain it's not 'coz I am intimadating as I am quite small. So UK runners now is your chance to explain - does this description fit you or am I just living in a runner-unfriendly area?


  • I run round bits of London most weekends and there's a mix of types - generally, if prompted, a wave/hello/grunt can be elicited from others, but I agree that some of the runners I see are taking their morning run much too seriously and won't even go for eye contact!
  • When I was back in the UK on my yearly holiday visiting family/friends was when I got the running bug, as I could run outside and wasn't restricted to the treadmill (as I am here in the middle east during the summer).

    Anyway, I ran in Wrexham (North Wales), Heacham (Norfolk),Biggleswade (Bedfordshire) and Hig Wycombe (Bucks) in the mornings and I encountered a smile, a greeting or a nod in every place. Therefore, I have to disagree with you Jayne, I'm afraid. Maybe you do live in an unfriendly place!!
  • Beth 30, friendly or unfriendly at least its outside, don't envy you the long months spent on the treadmill:)
  • Hi Jayne, generally when I meet a fellow runner (very rarely as I mostly run off-road) a quick hello is normal. Ocasionally when I run along the prom in Aberdeen the more serious runner sprints past me with hardly an hello, its very flat and straight ideal for tempo running. As in all walks of life runners are a mixed bunch the friendly and the not so friendly.
  • Most fellow runners up here in East Yorkshire will give a smile and a hello, even the ones overtaking me!! We`re a friendly bunch up here!
  • I always like to greet all the people I pass, runners or not. I have had one runner whizz past me at speed without even a grimace of acknowledgement, and one who was so tired that her response to my cheery "Good Morning!" was more like "Gummpuphpuh!", and then there was the woman on Thursday afternoon walking with her pushchair who avoided eye contact because so was intent on watching my groin go by (lycra shorts!)...
  • Miserable bunch in Brum. I smile and say hello every time I pass someone, whether they're running, walking, washing their car or standing in their doorway. If it's another runner, I'll acknowledge them across the street. I get far more glowers or attempts to pretend I am invisible than smiles and waves. Except in the real inner city, where the Sikh and African Caribbean folk (the adults and little kids, anyway) all greet me like old friends even if we've never met before.

    One of the nicest things about going "home" to the West of Scotland is that everyone there is so much more ready with a nod and a bit of chat.
  • Dorset people are always friendly - in fact the problem I have is that I am out of breath and cannot always be described as coherent!

    Joking aside it is nice when people do respond, but I think that in the towns and cities this is a much rarer occurrance than in the country.

    Jayne - maybe moving would sort out your problem!!
  • I usually run wearing a Macmillan vest or tee-shirt, whether this helps or not I don't know. I always try and get eye contact with people I meet and I would say that 99% of them are friendly, especially other runners. This of course could be due to pity - I look as wrecked after 4 miles as I do after 19!
  • I am encouraged that some people do get greeted. Where I run (Central London) no one ever, ever responds to my greetings so I have just given up. I used to run around Regent's Park a couple of times every morning and so would see the same people running in the opposite direction three or more times *every* day, but when I greeted them I wouldn't even get eye contact. Sad bunch us Londoners!
  • i always do something to acknowledge other runners and passers by but what i do , and the response i get, depends how knackered i and the other person is. often its just a nod of the head or a quick 'hi' but its very, very rare for me to not get any response to this - and i've found that the fastest runners are often the friendliest round here (maybe just because they're not as knackered??) (by the way, this is salisbury i'm talking about)
  • Pepsi - you're right, I'd prefer to be outdoors anyday - the treadmill is a very unfriendly piece of equipment!

    It's just got to a temperature where I can go outside here now, but none of the runners/walkers really acknowledge each other along the creekside of Dubai.
    Thing is, if I started saying 'hello' the women would think I was a bit strange and the guys would think I fancied them and follow me. That's how it is here with the nationality mix unfortunately (it would take an age to explain it in finer detail) and I am the only Brit I see out and about running at 6.30 in the morning.

  • The Essex runners are a very friendly bunch, especially here in Billericay. I was out running in my local forest this Sunday morning, and having already completed a long trail run the day before, decided that, as a treat, I would walk up a really tough hill, not only did I suddenly hear the sound of running, but a voice which not only told me to dig deep, but also waited for me to start running again? A really friendly runner, but I don't think he believed that the walk was my treat! The runners around here all say hello, and usually shout to ask if you belong to a running club, and if not, why not......very determined, but always friendly.
  • I found Guildford runners to be very friendly when I lived there but now I'm in Wiltshire, I have trouble squeezing any kind of response out of most other runners. I always attempt eye contact and smile but am often studiously ignored. Walkers are generally social and appreciate a thank you if they clear the way. Funny, isn't it? Running should be a bonding thing in the same way as driving an old Beetle etc is.
  • What a mixed response!

    I always acknowledge other runners in some way, though I have to agree with others that if I am puffed, it tends to be a wave or a half - strangled 'Hi', but everyone responds. I do find though that if I am off road and meet walkers, the reaction is totally different. Eyes down, avoid any communication at all costs seems to be the common reaction. Maybe these people just don't understand us runners (a term I use loosely in relation to me - but then what else would I be a 'staggerer', a 'labourer' , or probably the most apt a 'plodder'. I think I'll stick with Runner, and try to convince myself!)
  • Here in Shropshire everyone acknowledges you - runners, walkers, farmers in tractors say hi and wave. Most motorists wave on the roads that I usually frequent - they usually slow down to about 8 miles an hour until I find a wide part to dodge into as well.

    When i run in the town I usually (sometimes unfortunately)get greeted by pupils). To be fair, most of the runners I see I know anyway.

    When I used to live in Hampshire the runners there were generally pretty communicative too.

    City runners do tend to be a bit more "serious" - or are they just trying to avoid breathing in the fumes?

    Incidentally, I've run in Belgium, France,Italy and Spain and runners and cyclists almost always wave, at least.

    I reckon we're a pretty friendly bunch actually - is it a question of the shared discomfort?
  • I run in Richmond Park quite a lot and do try to say hi! or something to every runner I meet. The response varies from nothing to a friendly hello back. What irritates is the look from some 'real'/fast runners which suggests that I shouldn't really be on the same path as them let alone trying to communicate. I might just be on my long slow run and actually be able to go lots faster. Well, I might....
    Out pounding the pavements of New Malden, Berrylands, Surbiton, Thames Ditton etc I do find people more friendly, perhaps it's because the streets are perceived to be more dangerous or difficult so we need to stick together?
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