Having done quite a few sessions now I thought I’d summarise my observations of the types of people I meet when out and about. One of my big concerns when starting C25K was what other people would think about a sweaty middle age man trying to give himself a heart attack.
What you realise fairly quickly is that no one gives a shit. You could literally be on fire and all you will get is a nod from some bloke walking his retired whippet. But if nothing than for my own amusement I stereotype them into the following groups, these are sweeping generalisations:
Dog walkers (casual)
These are the people I pass the most. They are the group of people who honestly give the least amount of f***s. Most of them spend all their time out in this park. Occasionally you’ll get one who wants to talk but for the most part they want to get their chore done and get back home. The bottom line is if they stopped to talk to everyone they passed their 30 minute daily routine would take an hour. Worst still if you were to pass out in front of them it could really waste a morning. So they really don’t want to engage with you in any way.
Dog walkers (professional)
I am amazed by the sheer number of professional dog walkers. When did that become a thing? If I run between 10-11am there are more professional dog walkers than amateurs (is that now a thing as well?). Each of them walking anywhere between 3 and 8 dogs. Needless to say they are more worried about managing their pack than giving your passing a moment’s thought.
I have a fairly low opinion of the more successful dog walkers (let’s call them). Those pushing the number beyond half a dozen and are clearly beyond their abilities. I tend to think it’s become more about the money, and my general observation is they really aren’t fully in control in many instances. So I am a bit more careful passing them, in case I punt someone’s prized Chihuahua into the long grass.
You rapidly discover, there are two types of runners, what I think of as noobs and real runners, and yes I know there’s a group of people who’ll feel the need to point out if you aren’t walking you’re running. So I’ll classify real runners as those who are obviously post c25k.
You learn to tell the difference within a few sessions, but early on I assumed everyone was a “real” runner only to see them pull up five yards after passing me and start walking. I share your pain.
I see far more noobs, than real runners which is a little bit of a concern, because either people aren’t following through on the program or they go to some running heaven I’m not allowed in yet. Running around in a country park that is particularly hilly, the real runners I come across are the hardcore folk who like to get off road. Very inspiring seeing one dance up the side of a steep hill at a faster pace than I am doing on the flat.
As with runners, there are two types of walkers. Joe public out for the day, I don’t see too many of these to be fair at least not in this country park, most likely because I avoid using it at the weekends. You can generally spot them by their backpacks and leisurely pace.
Then you have your hardcore walkers, you know the ones with sticks, that usually travel in packs. These are the only group of people I hate to see. Why? They all look pretty fit (must be something to all that stick waggling) and in most instances they are walking quicker than I am running. So they are reminder that I’m not a “real” runner, yet!
For some reason I also feel they resent me for running. I don’t know if it’s because I have it in my mind that many of them used to be “real” runners until their knees gave out or simply because when I’m leaving the field they’ll have finished their warm up. Part-timer!
I hate to see teenagers, having been one, way back in the day I know what a bunch of lads with nothing to do hanging out in a park are generally just looking for trouble. Needless to say my pre-conceptions are completely out of date with the reality of being a modern teenager.
For starters, no teenager would ever be caught in a country park from what I can see, I’ve never seen one alone or in a pack (I suspect it’s do with the terrible phone signal). They do appear in small packs in the local park but obviously not before early evening (some things don’t change). The majority have mobile phones and generally sit in groups instant messaging each other using this weeks hip chat app. The only way you’d typically get a teenagers attention is if there’s a bad 4G signal or they’ve run out of bandwidth for the month. Given the great deals these days that’s going to be relatively rare.
So in a nutshell, none of these groups of people give a damn about you and what your doing, it turns out you are not the centre of the universe. Shocking I know but get over it and go running!