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Updated 9.5.18

Rules of the Road

In every sport, there are both written and unwritten rules. Baseball, for example, has the written rule known as the "infield fly" rule, meaning , of course, that if anyone sees a fly in the infield, the batter is automatically out, unless he swats the fly before the ball hits the shortstop's glove. Example of an unwritten rule is where fans are permitted to yell "Hey, batta batta" at the batter, unless and until he jumps into the stands and beats the trash out of them first.

Running has its own set of rules, most of which are unwritten. Now that racing season is here, I thought this would be an opportune time to review some the "rules of the road."

1. When racing, runners should be considerate enough to line up at the start in accordance with their expected pace. If a slower runner starts at the front, it is permissible for the runners behind him to knock him down and run over him as though he were road kill.

2. When leaving a water stop, make sure to drop your half empty cup so that it not only trips up the runner behind you, but also splashes then with sticky yellow Gatorade.

3. Runners are not permitted to tell themselves, or nearby racers, that "we're almost there" until at least one-half hour after they've arrived at the finish line.

4. Time spent petting cute dogs does not count toward total race (or run) time. No such allowance is made for non-cute dogs.

5. When approaching a runner who has stopped to stretch out an obviously painful leg cramp, runners are allowed to be relieved that the cramp is happening to someone else, even if that person is their mother.

6. When being passed in a race, it is necessary to say "Good job" to the one passing you, unless you don't have enough oxygen to say it, and then it's customary to flip them the bird.

7. When approaching the chute, it is OK to throw a body block to other approaching finishers so that you can go through the chute first.

8. During a marathon, runners are permitted to fling packets of Gu at any person who claims "You are looking good" after Mile 17. Spectators who tell runners "You are almost there" are subject to both profanity and obscene gestures, and are banned from the sport for life.

9. It is never OK for one runner to tell another runner what his finishing time was, unless he is first asked. At that juncture, it is permissible to state the finishing time so long as it is accompanied by a variety of excuses, including the following: "I would have run faster, but –"
           a. The weather was bad;
           b. I'm suffering from The Black Plague
           c. I stopped to rescue a family of homeless birds and built them a nest in a fifty foot tree.

10. Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" is THE official running song and must be loaded onto every runner's iPod.

11. Chip time is more important than gun time, unless a runner forgets to attach his chip to his shoe, at which point he may use the gun accordingly.

12. Runners are forbidden from paying retail prices for their running gear, but may feel guilty about not supporting their local running store where all items are overpriced.

I hope this has cleared up a few things for everyone. I'll be seeing you out there on the road. Just don't tell me how good I look.
A History of RunningAnatomy of a CrosstrainerBuckeye Trails 50KGot Guilt
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Size MattersThe 12 step runnerThe NERC HelplineThe Rules of the Road
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This article was originally written By Aimee Gilman for the newsletter of the NERC, Northeast Running Club. It may not be reproduced without the express, written consent of Aimee Gilman.
Copyright 2010.

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