It may be odd, but I speak with runners I do not know and who do not know me every day. Granted these chats are not actual conversations but ones that go through my mind when I see other runners out and about. Sometimes, I am running and enjoying the day with them. Other days I may have already finished my run. And still others are when I am in transit in some other form than running shoes.
Regardless, when I do see them, there is no shortage of questions I want to ask them. I wonder if this is a good run for them. If not, what is keeping them going? What made them start running? Are they training for a race or running just for fitness? Have they always been a runner or did other sports call their name first? What sort of watch is that? Does the trail we are on have good footing?
If I am running, I curse silently to myself if they are going the other direction. If I overtake them, I wonder if they mind if I would stop and chat Sometimes, it is all I can do to not stop them and ask them some if not all of the questions I have in my mind. I obviously resist, as I would not want my workout interfered with by some nosy stranger.
However, I do often shout words of encouragement. Sometimes it appears to be appreciated. Sometimes it falls on deaf ears that are plugged with earphones. And there are even a few times where I get a look as if it is none of my business how good or not there run is.
Nevertheless, even when I never exchange so much as a head nod, I silently wish them well. I am no great runner to be “proud” of people I do not know, but I am nonetheless. I am proud regardless of their pace, present physical shape or grace in running. They are not on couch. They are running.