To Wave or Not to Wave

To Wave or Not to Wave

Waking up before the sun to get in our miles is something we all enjoy or dread. Out on the road alone with mist on the grass or snow on the ground, often times the paths of two runners will cross at such an hour and a decision is made… to wave or not to wave.

In a February (2009) issue of Runner’s World there was a wonderful article that covered such a conundrum. (Waver’s Dilema, by Robert Sullivan) It defined a ‘wave’ as any acknowledgement of the other runner(s) including the general wave, a nod, a hello, a hey, a good morning or any grunt you can muster.

Essentially everyone is broken into two groups: wavers and non-wavers.

WAVERS

Perhaps wavers see it as a way of acknowledging the commitment and dedication to those of us that wake early to get our runs in. Or maybe it’s a single moment where a nod or wave expresses the unspoken “shared experience” where 2 people out of millions cross a path on the same pavement at the same time. As wavers, are we too sensitive if the other runner doesn’t wave back? Do we feel slighted and should we be?

NON-WAVERS

As for non-wavers, there is no need to acknowledge the other runner. We don’t wave at everyone we pass in a Marathon or road race. We’re out there to accomplish one thing: a good run. Maybe even a tough run. Concentration is needed on maintaining pace and form. Are our intentions to hurt a waver’s feelings? No, we can share that same moment of two runners passing at the same point and time in silence and continue down the road.

So there it is, a brief description of what each side may be thinking… let the conversation begin: to wave or not to wave. Share your thoughts or experiences in the comments section below.

Chalk me up as a waver/nodder.

How about you? Do you acknowledge other runners?

15 Comments

  1. I’m with you. I’m a waver, unless I see that someone is seriously focused and then I’ll hold back and simply nod. That’s part of what I love about running – the community of runners and our shared passion for the experience. A wave is a simple, yet effective way to acknowledge that commonality. I won’t hold a grudge against non-wavers, though . . . I think my husband is one!

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  2. I read the article too – found it entertaining.
    I wave and smile.
    I like a wave back – but no conversation please! I won’t hear what you’re saying if my music is blasting away.

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  3. I’m most positively a waver. I smile, wave, nod or grunt at everyone I pass and that passes me! I think it’s because when I first started running, and people waved to me it made me feel like part of the club!

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  4. I wave to EVERYONE and usually cheer them on as well. That’s my personality though – I know many folks look back at me like I’m crazy!

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  5. Waver here. I feel that I’m the KRRT cheerleader – cheering everyone on down on my fave running path.

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  6. I wage most of the time but I do generally look for eye contact before I do. Getting out and running, walking, biking, whatever..deserves acknowledgment!

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  7. I’m a waver or sometimes even a “good morning”-er.

    Always nice to acknowledge another person in the morning.

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  8. If I ever met a runner in our rural area, I’d wave in acknowledgement but not be offended if there were no return wave. To each his own.

    I’ve learned that running is the only solitary sport where you are never alone.

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  9. I’m like Linda. I don’t initiate acknowledgement, so I’m a non-waver. But if someone acknowledges ME, I will always respond. I never leave ‘em hanging.

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  10. Totally a “waver” + nod + big smile + “hi” girl. Even on workout days it seems to help me when I acknowledge others for their efforts. Funny, I just had a similar post because I’m in Seattle for the summer and I noticed most people don’t wave or say hi and I’m so used to saying lots of “hi”s, waving, big smiles. Gotta get used to the new territory!

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  11. I ALWAYS wave and say hi! Most people I meet do the same. I think it keeps us all positive and shows support for each other :)

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  12. For me it depends where I’m running. If I’m on a busy running path I might smile, but if I tried to wave I’d spend the whole run with my arm in the air!

    If I’m working out of town (which usually means being in a smaller town) I’m more likely to wave because I pass less people.

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  13. I’m a waver. In a OMG-this-is-awful-amiright kind of way. Today a random dude gave me a high five and I rocked the next quarter mile off that energy. But no talking please. Can’t hear you and if I stop I won’t want to start again!

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  14. Smile, wave, cheer, nod, wink. Pease please please dear driver, I am happy you didn’t hit me, just don’t stop me and ask for directions, especially when I am running up hill… Downhill, maybe, but up, really?

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  15. I LOVE to cheer on other runners!

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