The rules

Every sport has rules.

You may think that, just because running tends to be an individual sport, there are not as many rules.  If you’re not a runner, you may have believed (until now, or until about four minutes from now if I can frame a good argument) that running is essentially about throwing on the trainers and running around the streets or the running track with scant regard for any rules.

But there are rules.

I doubt you will find these rules formalised in a book or anything like that and you may have used that as an excuse for not being across them. 

That changes today.

I promise to keep it nice and simple so they are easy to remember, I’ll keep it to three. 

I give you:

The Rules.

1. Direction.

1.1: For the love of God and all that is good on this Earth keep to the bloody left!!!

1.1.1 Unless you are one of my US friends (howdy, welcome y’all, thanks for stopping by) in which case you should probably stay to the right and you’ll need to reverse everything you are about to read.

1.1.1(a): Unless you’re in Australia (like TC will be for the Melbourne Marathon in a few weeks) in which case, get on the bloody left!!

1.1.1(b): No amount of “Oh, but I’m American [or French, or whatever]” will help to excuse a breach of 1.1 and you will still be subject to the consequences outlined in 1.2.

1.2 If you choose to ignore Section 1.1, you can expect to be evil-eyed, shoulder nudged and “tsk”-d by runners abiding by 1.1 until you get the hint and get over to the bloody left hand side of the track!! 

1.2.1 Repeat offenders who refuse to keep left, unless overtaking are likely to cop a hip and shoulder from a 5’4” blonde that will make your bones shake for a week (don’t laugh, she’s been smashing out the push ups, her shoulders are solid). 

1.2.1(a): There will be no right of appeal if they have breached 1.1, even if it is not in fact a repeat offence but a first offence.

2. Spitting.

2.1 You should at all times try not to spit (seriously blokes!  I’ve never once seen a woman do it, why is it different when you are running??).

2.2 If you must spit (but seriously, I’m being gracious by even including an if), you may only do so if you satisfy the following three conditions:

2.2.1 You are over on the far left as per Section 1.1

2.2.2 You have the ability to get distance further left with your saliva

2.2.3 You have checked behind you to see that there is no one (not just no one big who can inflict pain on you if you spit on them, but absolutely no one.  That includes Miss Chloe and others of her species) so close behind you that, if the wind were to change, your disgusting mouth grenade might adversely impact their enjoyment of their running.

2.2.3 (a): Section 2.1.3 is an especially important measure because the people behind you, if you have abided by 2.1.1, are doing the right thing by Section 1.1, are therefore generally good citizens and do not deserve to be spat on by you.

2.2.3 (b): If you have abided by 2.1.1 and there is a subject running towards you in a clear breach of Section 1.1, a little bit of spit probably won’t hurt – but no chunky bits.

2.2.3 (c): If a walker is breaching Section 3.3 then you are allowed to spit on them, chunky bits and all.

3. Walking.

3.1 No excuses for not following 1.1 (or 2.1 for that matter, but I should hope you have no need to spit while walking!) if you are walking on a track that is also used as a running track

3.1.1 Special clarification to help walkers: the middle of the path is not the left, the left is the left (I understand this is a very difficult distinction for walkers who believe the middle is the left, so here’s a handy hint for free: if you hold your hands in front of you with your fingers spread, it’s the one where your thumb and index finger make an “L”, that’s the side you want to be on).

3.2 You can only walk two people wide

3.2.1 If there’s three of you and you feel that makes it awkward, too bad.  You can go walk on a footpath somewhere or take it in turns to be the loner (or, better yet, take up running and leave your two friends to their walking while you get fit and awesome)

3.2.2 This includes dogs – for example, in the case of two people and two dogs, the dogs can go in front or behind or they can heal next to single file humans

3.2.3 See 1.2, 1.2.1 and 1.2.1(a) for likely outcomes if you breach 3.2.

3.3 No smoking on running tracks.  Ever.

3.3.1 No excuses (not even that you’re just out for a stroll, or you had a few drinks at The Bot, or you’re a tourist on one of those tour buses that has pulled up at the bottom of Anderson Street and you haven’t had a fag in an hour.  The person approaching you from down wind is trying to suck every last ounce of oxygen into their lungs, being surprised with two lungs full of second hand Marlboro smoke when you’ve just run 20km and have 10km to go is not fun).

3.3.2 See 1.2, 1.2.1 and 2.2.3(c) for likely outcomes if you breach 3.3.


So there we have it – three simple rules that, if we all follow when out on the running track, will make all our lives that little bit happier and less stressful.

Now that these are publically available, I trust there’ll be no more issues.

See you on the track people!

4 Responses to “The rules”
  1. tc says:

    I’m “TC” aren’t I?

  2. tc says:

    it’s late, i can only retain the last word of any comment. in short, sweet!

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  • My Marathons for Maddie in 2011

    Run for the Kids: 17 April - 14.38km
    Mothers' Day Classic: 8 May - 4km
    Run Melbourne: 17 July – half marathon
    Sandy Point Half: 21 August - half marathon
    Sydney Running Festival: 18 September – half marathon
    Melbourne Marathon: 9 October – marathon

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