The runner’s wave, nod, smile, or even the occasional high five, are a phenomenon in solo running I only recently discovered.
I first encountered one of these expressions of camaraderie whilst running in – 20-degree weather early in January. At the time, I passed it off as simply recognition that we were possibly the only runners in all of Ottawa crazy enough to even try running in those icy and bitterly cold conditions. On that day, with a layer of frost covering my eyelashes, my tuque pulled down to the edge of my eyebrows, and my neck warmer pulled up with just enough space for me to see where I was going, I encountered one runner going in the opposite direction. We locked eyes, he nodded, I nodded back, and I thought to myself. “Yeah, we are dedicated! We aren’t going to let this outrageously cold weather stop us from achieving our fitness goals!”
I’ve now come to realize, the friendly smile or nod when passing another runner is not just something encountered during extreme running conditions, but rather, any time you pass a fellow runner. I have even had the experience of receiving my first ever high five whilst running. I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least.
All that to say, it feels kind of special to be a part of the running community, especially on those days when it is a struggle to get out the door. I wonder how many other runners have encountered one of these friendly gestures during one of their runs.