WR readers refute claims that runners are “aggressive” - Women's Running

WR readers refute claims that runners are “aggressive”

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  August 10, 2015

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The hot topic of today’s popular BBC Radio Two Jeremy Vine Show was the inconsiderate and aggressive nature of runners towards pedestrians. In immediate backlash to such allegations, WR readers refuted such claims.

In the show, a stark and, quite frankly, shocking depiction was painted of the UK running community, as a satirical recording by reporter Tim Johns was played portraying runners as terrifying and aggressive “creatures.”

The recording, which illustrated the “peace and quiet” of Tim’s local park, used the well-known Jaws soundtrack to exemplify the terror felt by families, pedestrians and children as runners approach them. These demon caricatures were described as having “heavy breathing” and a “steely glare” as they “plough through” families and pedestrians “shouting and swearing”, “plugged into their headphones detached from reality.”

Exacerbating the depiction, Johns claimed to have searched (unnamed) running forums to find comments from violet runners, expressing their hostility at inconsiderate pedestrians getting in their way. “I hate it when people intentionally don’t move out of my way,” supposedly commented one forum user, “I get a bit nasty though and I just barge through, knocking them with my elbows; they soon regret blocking my way then.”

“How dare families not walk everywhere in single file just in case a runner demands to pass,” supposedly commented another user.

Building on this negative depiction, Jeremy Vine said: “The trouble with joggers is that people don’t seem inclined to stop or swerve. The only action you can take to avoid some kind of human pile up with this person, who thinks they own the pavement, is moving at speed to jump out of their path.”

However, WR readers were quick to defend runners from such allegations on social media. “Who heard Jermey Vine discussing ‘militant’ runners on R2 today! I’m never that rude, is anyone?” said LCA Runner. Sharon Beckenkrager agreed. “Absolutely not! I’m never rude and have never come across a rude runner,” she replied. Popular Twitter running community @UKRunChat were also quick to defend the running community. “We were chatting about it earlier. Most runners disagree with @theJeremyVine.”

When we asked WR Twitter and Facebook users their opinion on the claims made on the Jeremy Vine Show, based on their own experiences as both runners and pedestrians, responses included the following:

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While a small number of readers did express that they had experienced unpleasant and inconsiderate runners in the past, the consensus was in high defence of the UK running community, with many expressing concern with the hostile attitude of pedestrians towards runners.

The views expressed by Joe Irvin, Chief Executive of Living Streets, on the show echoed those of the WR readers. “I’m sure you can have inconsiderate joggers as you can have inconsiderate cyclers and walkers actually,” Joe said. “We’ve got a bit of a health crisis in this country with too little activity, so actually we should be encouraging more people to walk and more people to jog,” he added.

A key point pressed by Joe was the importance of mutual understanding, kindness and considerateness between runners and pedestrians, while using parks and pavements to run or walk. Highlighting that the Highway Code does, in fact, apply to pedestrians as well as drivers, Joe noted the importance of both pedestrians and runners “show[ing] care and consideration for others.”

Have you ever experienced a rude, inconsiderate or aggressive runner while out walking? Answer our poll here and comment below telling us about your experiences.

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