I never rant but todays is quite a negative post with positive aspects……

I was out on a run last night around Arthurs Seat in Edinburgh, I must have run past at least half a dozen other runners. I said hi to them all as I passed and the majority replied with a grunt or hello. The two that didnt got me wondering about whether what I was doing was appropriate.

I am a sociable person, we are all sociale animals at heart so when I am out running, especially on trails, when I see someone else out there busting a gut, I ususally say hi. In my experience when someone says good morning to me it gives me a little boost and makes me smile.

So my questions is, what does everyone think is appropriate and if you do not wave or say hi to fellow cyclists, runners, dog walkers, why not?

I will ALWAYS say Hello to passers by when I am out running but I dont think its just a running thing. I can only talk about British society since Im from here and cant pass judgement on any others. I sometimes feel that British society has lost its sense of community and with that goes a significant amount of politeness and manners. People seem to be too absorbed in their own lives to notice or care or even just acknowledge someone elses.

Anyone got any thoughts on this?

About Mark Cooper

My name is Mark Cooper, I am an ultra runner, motivational speaker, expedition consultant and public relations rookie. I help people achieve greatness in their lives. For bookings or more information you can email
This entry was posted in Personal and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Etiquette

  1. I don’t run, but always say hello to people that I walk past in the park / similar place. As a pillion motorbike person, EVERY motorbike rider acknowledges each other on the roads with a nod or a wave which can get quite extreme on a sunny day with lots of bikers on the road, but it’s considered rude not to. I would have thought runners would have been the same.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Etiquette | --

  3. Malcolm says:


    I know how you feel. I ALWAYS say hi to fellow runners and even dog walkers/hikers/groups……. the lot. Where I live and the whole of France in general they are great for returning the “salut” or “bonjour” because I believe that we are all out ther sharing the same beautiful space that nature has given us. Of course some won’t even acknowledge you but they may be that way in their working and social lives too. The silent types. I am not quite sure though if it can be distilled down to the fact that it depends on where you come from but would be keen to hear from other people in other countries. I have run by people and have elites blow past me too but I think once you make the effort then you can hang up your shoes at the end of the day with a smile on your face.

    Keep truckin’


  4. Alan says:

    I Could not agree more, I always say morning or whatever and I think the vast majority of runners/cyclists/horse riders/dog walkers etc reply. You can always tell the ones that never make eye contact they are the ones you will not get a reply from. It’s their loss though, thats the way I look at it. So lets all keep the smiles on our faces and sod them !

  5. Scott says:

    Hi (see what I did there?!),

    I usually get a reply to my ‘hi’ when out running or cycling, and tend to not worry myself too much about those people too busy/anti social to even spare the half second it takes to acknowledge another human! No doubt the same people who would complain about lack of help in a bad situation…(flat tire, lost etc)
    An interesting game I have played with one of my hiking buddies is to play areas off against each other by counting up ‘non-replies’ whilst we are out walking. The Peak District is so far the worst place for non acknowledgement- with the Lakes being waaaaaaaaaaay out in front in the friendly reply front! A silly game, but one we find amusing nontheless! Is it the sort of people attracted to each area, the weather, our smell that makes the difference on the day I wonder?!


  6. serunner says:

    Being shy when out running I won’t initiated the ‘Hello’, but will always acknowledge anybody that says hello – although that will vary from a smiley ‘Hello’ to a meer grunt and movement of my hands if I’m struggling.

    FWIW – I’m always happier when people say hello than when they don’t, so keep it up I guess.

  7. JamesBoH says:

    Same here. I seldom get a response. Usually I think it’s partly due to them having an iPod in their ear but it’s still rude and miserable.

  8. Jeremy says:

    yeah I’m the same. I think a quick hello/hi/nod is polite and simply an acknowledgement between 2 likeminded souls. I can only comment on how I feel out there and it deffo makes me momentarily pissed off when you say Hi and don’t get anything back….. worse still when they don’t even look at you as you pass (?)

  9. Mark Cooper says:


    When I’m out running in the evenings in Leith, the ladies I run past smile, we encourage one another but the guys don’t? I’m not sure if it’s because it’s dark and they don’t want to appear to be trying it on or if they’re just antisocial but it has puzzled me for a while now. Maybe I’m scaring them by trying to smile when they’re clearly not intending too. But anyway, in comparison, I’m from the country and I love the hearty hello I get when out walking in around there, like I’m an old friend, it always surprises me, so loud, hearty and friendly, almost impossible not to respond to that (O:

  10. David says:

    Try running round Hyde Park in London! I reckon 1% acknowledge you and what really gets my goat is when you move off the track to allow a runner coming in the other direction and you don’t even get a nod, never mind what I feel is a deserved “thanks”. On a positive note, yesterday a tall attractive young blonde lady, plugged into her iPod positively screamed THANK YOU as I moved aside for her – made me smile for the next mile or so.

  11. socialoverworker says:

    I go running around the local nature reserve and around 20% of people will actually say hello. It’s usually because their f&%$£%ing dog is off it’s lead and has come and muddy pawprinted my lovely running clothes.

    I’ve given up now. I wear a baseball cap, pull it low and just assume nobody will say hello back.

  12. Louise says:

    Not a runner but out exercising horses over the years I have found that people have become less inclined to speak. I agree with the others that a lot now have i pods etc but eye contact gets a response even if they can’t hear! They don’t realise what they are missing as you can go out feeling down & get home happy just because of a few brief exchanges 🙂 I shall always be friendly in the hope to spread a little happiness!! So lets all keep it up it costs nothing !! lol

  13. Lorenzo says:

    I notice that most cyclist only say hi to eachother if they look like pro. When I go for a spin wearing a tshirt and a pair of normal shorts I don’t even get a look

  14. Sonny says:

    I always say hey to people and fellow runners. 80% seem sure I am in some way trying to mug them……..

  15. Sausage King says:

    When out jogging I force my gasping lungs to squeeze out a noise of some sort! I live in the sticks and 80-100% say hello back. Possibly the holiday makers don’t bother? At six foot six I am fairly distinct locally so I expect they think “it’s that madman again trying to run”!

    I agree about the pro-kit meaning respect. On a decent bike (250cc ) I get a lot of love from other motorcyclists. If I take the CG125 for filling up or for a little run out I get ignored!

  16. poeticruse says:

    Always say hi, rarely get a response.

    I find that being ignored, or worse, scowled at, by fellow denizens to be more demoralizing than a bad run, bad weather or the like. I know running can be a solitary thing, and I try to give the benefit of the doubt to the sour-pusses, but the smilers and talkers warm my heart and lighten my step.

  17. Nick says:

    Here’s a formula….. if you live within 10 kms from the Central Business District of any city then any “hello” is not required! 10 to 30 kms then try it on but don’t expect a reply. Over 30 kms from the CBD then you should say hello to passer byes and expect a reply. Over 100 kms then you will probably be deep in rural territory then be prepared for a little chat. There are different parameters for males greeting females; single walkers/riders/joggers saying hello to groups and visa versa.

  18. Johnny H says:

    Always a smile and thumbs up, haven’t always got the breath for a hi, with out coughing lol.
    I find most ppl do the same, although there are a few who do not acknowlegde any hi or thumbs up… come on Britain cheer up, smile and say hi.

  19. I always say hello and smile when I pass a fellow runner but I too have contemplated this ‘anti-social’ blanking. Could it be that the other runner is truly busting a gut just to stay focused on their workout? Could it be a general sign of societal breakdown? Or is that runner just a rude git?

    It could be any of the above. Perhaps rather than getting upset, we should accept that we can’t read each other’s thoughts. Perhaps the other runner thinks you’re not trying hard enough when they are breathing through their rears with the effort. Perhaps they have a whole lot going on in their personal life that means running has become an opportunity to bash through their personal fears, anger, stress, heartache. Perhaps our muttered “hello” or grunted “hi” sounded clear in our own ears but came across as nothing more than heavy breathing. Perhaps our raised-eyebrows-salute just looked like we were scowling as we passed. We will never know. Or perhaps the running passing though you looked like a scary, psychopath. So don’t stress it, you can’t change it.

    Not every driver will give you a friendly flash of lights in thanks. And as more people take up running, perhaps we will see the same death of “sub-community” status that cyclists in Copenhagen have (they don’t wave to each other just because they’re on a bike…if they did they would soon tire of the phenomenon, unlike here in Blighty where seeing another cyclist can still be a novelty).

    Keep being friendly, and perhaps your positivity will inspire and boost those you pass.

  20. Mark Cooper says:

    thanks for the comment Andy, I realise my upset to people who don’t smile or say hello back is my problem and that there could be many factors for them not returning the courtesy still, it’ll always irk me 🙂 hope training is going well!

    • Couldn’t resist bringing my Dalai Lama approach to your blog mate 🙂

      Thanks. Training going pretty well though it looks like tonight’s run will have to happen before work tomorrow. 100kmph winds were not my cup of tea this evening, so a 6am start and 14miles in the morn before a BIG bowl of porridge! Amsterdam in a month and I’m pretty pumped for it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s