Accidental death of a would-be heckler

So I'm plodding along at a steady pace on one of my standard courses through Hoylake this evening. Two youths (late teens, maybe even early 20s I guess) appear on the rather narrow pavement (left-hand side of the road) ahead of me. One of them moves across towards the edge of the pavement, directly in front of me. Maybe he hasn't seen me.
Oh yes he has - he's staring at me, running on the spot and pumping his elbows in some sort of attempt to mimic me. I maintain course, speed (~9.5 mph), and full eye contact.
As I approach, my own elbow action (particularly on the RHS) becomes exaggerated, as if I'm about to swing a punch at him. The bluff works. At the last moment, he moves out of the way, to my right.
He's forgotten he's standing on the kerb. As I pass him, he totters, off balance, into the road. Bang! The car passing by at 30 mph has no chance of avoiding him. I carry on running.

All the above really did happen this evening - with one exception. There was no car passing at the critical moment.

Spoilt my run - heart rate leapt by 10 bpm from that point onwards - and largely stayed there, as I contemplated what might have been.


  • It's a shame the little shit wasn't run over. I don't suppose that's what you meant but I've had so much nonsense from post-pubescent males that one less in the world at times seems no loss (not that I was any better at that age).
  • I have a recurrent fantasy along similar lines, Mike, but in my version the heckler is cycling on the pavement, calls my bluff, and I "accidentally" boot him into the road (complete with passing car) or the canal as he grazes past me. Who, me, officer? Respectable pillar of society out having an innocent jog? Nah!

    Was it the fact that he might have been run over, or the fact that he wasn't, that spoiled your run?

    Cheers, V-rap.
  • Sorry to hear about this sort of thing Mike it probably ruined your day.

    Tend to agree with all. Didn't they invent wars to get rid of this dross or am I just cynical (or hopeful).

    Mr Angry of Reading
  • It was meant to be a relaxed, steady 5 miler at a nice low HR. Once the surplus adrenalin in the immediate aftermath of the encounter had worn off, I started wondering what would have happened if he had been hit and his mate swore blind that I'd barged him into the road.
    Also, the route I use involves two loops through Hoylake - and the second one was still to come! I did wonder if they'd spot me coming round again before I spotted them & lie in, one way and another, the HR stayed high for the rest of the run. Not the outing I wanted.
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    I had a similar incident on my bike on Friday night. Hammering on at about 27mph, 3 little sh!tes on their bikes on the pavement started shouting something (probably for the best I didn't hear it). As I was almost level with them, one thrust his bike right out onto the road in front of me. Thankfully there was not a car overtaking at the time, and I managed to swerve safely to avoid him. I was so angry, I stopped, turned round and headed back (they were all under 12, so I felt brave enough to tackle them). They scarpered as I approached, and as they were on mountain bikes, I couldn't follow them, so I had to make do with shouting "Next time I'll just hit you, you little £%*"!^£&%."

    Anyone got one of those "Stinger" devices the police use????
  • Is this heckling a big problem in the UK. I live in Canada and never have any trouble with hecklers. I will be in England in Sept any advice if I run into this situation.
  • "The Accidental Death of a Would-be Heckler" sounds like a great title for a novel! Surely there must be a gap in the market for a running detective/private eye/sleuth/copper?
  • The problem exists all over the country even here in North Shropshire, but I carry a bunch of keys and begin to swing them menacingly when I'm sight of any irksome oiks... seems to have worked so far...
  • Still on the heckling subject but a rather lighter note:- I normally run locally (have broken toe so am only clawing walls at present) and am used to some good natured 'jollying-along' by people I see out regularly. One 'friend' has come up with a novel way of - as he put it - geeing me up by turning on the siren in his police car as he passes. The first time I nearly wet myselof but in a warped way I find it comforting that the local constabulary are out and about!
  • myselof? Pleeeease bring back the edit facility
  • Judging from the contributors to this thread, it seems, very surprisingly, that this may be more of a menace for male runners! I am a female who almost always runs alone, both over the South Downs and round the local city roads, the latter at night in the Winter. The worst I have ever encountered physically was an apple lobbed at my back by some little s.....s but it was Halloween Night! Apart from that it is only verbals from all age groups but usually, it has to be said, male! The content, and response, depends upon the age group but generally I have never found it a real problem, just an annoyance.
  • I can certainly sympathize with hecklers ruining your run. I went out for a comfortable 6 last night - which involves a pleasant route along a local cycle track. On the way out a group of teenage lads started giving me the usual verbal, which normally won't bother me. But it was a big group and I wa son my own. Also this is an out and back run which meant on the way back I had to run past them again!

    Instead of continuing at my comfortable pace I found I was running practically flat out when I went past them becuase I felt so uncomfortable. You usually only get cyclist and dog walkers on the track, meeting this group has kind of put me off doing this route on my own in the future becuase its quite isolated.

    Anyway after that the run was ruined - I'm supposed to do my hard sessions tonight but feel like I already did one last night!

  • Is it because runners are skinny and therefore pose no visual threat?
    Would we be better off built like some rugby forwards?
    Perhaps the sportswear companies could come up a 'don't-mess-with-me-look' that would make us look more important and menacing... kind of robocop running outfits!!
  • just think he's probably logged on to and started a thread on how he was gently ribbing someones running style when they threated to punch him. perhaps his closing remark may have been 'as i fell back into the road i can thank my funny boan that i was run down by a motor vehicle'.

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