Ever notice what happens when a motorcyclist passes another? If not, make an observation the next time you encounter this situation. To kill the suspense, they will almost always acknowledge each other. A wave, a nod a telling smile. Each acknowledging to the other that they get the lifestyle and share a common appreciation. This same recognition happens when owners of Jeep Wranglers pass by each other especially when both are topless. On the Jeep front, there is considerable more enthusiasm shown. Unlike the first example, my wife drove a Wrangler for years so I experienced this numerous times. I do not know how this started, but Jeep has put a brand on this cult like behavior and has a full throttle marketing campaign based around it. In fact, they label you as an outsider in hopes of peaking your interesting into buying your way into the clique. “It’s a Jeep Thing, You Wouldn’t Understand” Side note, we have sold our Jeep and switched to a BMW and they are right, I don’t understand …. why anyone wouldn’t want to be driving a BMW convertible instead of a Jeep!
Now you are probably asking yourself what any of this has to do with running. If you read this blog it is a good bet you already know I enjoy running. Scratch that, I really do not get that much enjoyment out of it but it does keep the weight off. It is a personal struggle to push through the pain to put one foot in front of another until a predefined destination or duration is met. In exactly the same manner as bikers and Jeep owners, runners acknowledge other runners they encounter (outside of actual races). A quick wave or smile just to let the other person know you feel their discomfort. Previously I would have said “always” acknowledge other runners, but last week while running in Jubilee College I passed a runner coming the opposite way. Headphones are prominent in this activity so I generally just go with a quick wave. Nothing big, just a little sign. I was taken back when there was no reciprocation. Nothing at all. There were no cars on the road, nothing that may have distracted him from seeing my wave and trust me, no matter what running zone you are in, you still observe everything around you…. if for nothing else, to keep from getting killed by a non-attentive driver. I made a mental note and went about my punishment.
For the record, if I am out running the pavement alone the blinders are off. I make every attempt to acknowledge other people in the area in case my heart gives out or those devious squirrels try to trip me.