I have been running (seriously) for about 7 years now and when I first started out I felt little connection between myself and other runner's I would see on the road, trail, etc. I did not occur to me that we share quite a bit in common and a smile, nod, or a "hi" might help push us to achieve our respective goals or just brighten our days. Even as I became more involved in the running world I still viewed most other runners as competition. That was until I realized that I am my only competition and You are your only competition! Everyone is out there competing with themselves, we are all united by that. Lately, I have been noticing more runner's acknowledging each other while running and I think it's great. I'm not sure what the reason is, maybe it's just my outlook on things or maybe it is a shift in running culture or consciousness. Certainly, books like Ultramarathon Man (Dean Karnazes) and Born to Run (Chris McDougall) have brought the running community closer together. So has training groups, fundraising efforts, and running blogs! I would also guess that the recession and the rise in diseases has prompted the world (especially the USA) to refocus their attention on being healthy and living an active lifestyle.
This runner's wave business has been a hot topic in the running community lately, check out this RUNNER'S WORLD ARTICLE and even Hal Higdon suggests saying "hi" in his ADVANCED I TRAINING SCHEDULE (see tuesday). See how much the runner's wave means to FATGIRL2FITGIRL.
I also am a big fan of running to MUSIC... yes, it can be an unfair motivator but more importantly music just fits certain moments. However, I have been training more and more without headphones because I have noticed a rise in communication with other runner's and I enjoy getting in tune with nature... It also puts me at an unfair advantage when running through areas with mountain lions and coyotes! In the past month I have had two conversations (each less than 2 minutes) with other runners, i did not know, while on a run. This was pretty cool. So say what's up to someone on your long run this weekend or throw them a smile or a wave.