Friday, January 30, 2015

DRIVING COMPLIMENTS

It was a miserable day for running today. Three inches of snow fell overnight, blanketing a cover of more than a foot that already cloaks the ground. Snow mountains are forming everywhere.

Adding to the misery, behind the storm, winds whipping at 35 miles an hour are causing the temperature to plummet. Dangerous wind chills of 20 to 30 below zero are predicted for tonight.

Around midday we set out for a five-mile run. The sun had appeared, and the roads were, for the most part, just wet.

With less than a quarter mile to our finish, we ran, facing traffic, on a rather heavilyt raveled road. Our distance on that particular street was only a couple hundred yards. As we turned at a red light, a car waited, but the driver, failing to look both ways, inched out, attempting to make a right turn on red, just as we ran in front of his bumper.

I am a strong believer in "Runner's Rights." Vehicular traffic does not "own" the road. Unless it's an Interstate Highway, or a major artery, runners, walkers, and cyclists are owners as well.

I yelled something incoherent like, "Yo." Hey, look, I live north of Philadelphia, and most of us have a little Rocky Balboa in us. I held up my hand in a 'stop' motion, and turned left, glaring at the driver.

The incident passed, our blood was not spilled, and no bones were broken.

My running partner, Eric Anchorstar, and I walked the last 100 yards or so to my house.

Suddenly, next to us, a car stopped.

It was the car and driver to whom I had just administered the 'Evil Eye.'

Conflict appeared imminent.

The gentleman, in his forties, rolled down his window, and could not have been more apologetic. He invoked me by name, and told me several times how sorry he was.

When he left, Eric exclaimed, "That has never happened to us."

Indeed it hasn't.

I wrote a chapter in my first book, "Running Shorts: A Collection of Stories and Advice for Anyone Who Has Ever Laced Up a Pair of Running Shoes," entitled, 'Why Do They Hate Us So Much?' www.muldowneyrunning.com listing some of my most memorable confrontations.

In reality, most drivers are courteous and respectful to runners, as this incident illustrates. As is the case in so many of life's endeavors, a small percentage of jealous, narrow-minded individuals contribute to our discomfort.

Thanks to all who respect what we do.