Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kindness of Strangers

An interesting thing happened to me tonight on my 5-miler. I was at about the 3.5 mile point at a stoplight standing next to a man who seemed to be in his late-fifties to early sixties. I can always tell if a man that age is a real runner because he will inevitably meet the following description:

-Cotton 10K race shirt
-Said race shirt tucked into shorts
-Said shorts are slightly too short
-Socks slightly too long
-Nike Pegasus or some other old Asics standby

The only thing different about this man was that he was wearing a Garmin, so I knew for sure that it was okay to talk to him.

"Sure is dark out here," he said.

"Yeah, but I'll do anything to run in this weather."

And so began our half-mile of running chit chat.

I found it very odd that someone like this man, who was obviously a rich old runner, (He told me he had just been running in Paris the week before with his wife. uhhhhh....yeah, me too, I run by the Eiffel Tower like all the time!) would start running with me for no apparent reason.

When I chose to run the fork in the road where it takes off down a dark path under a bridge, he said "Are you sure you are going to run down there? It sure is dark. I sometimes worry about my wife running in these parts even during the day, but if you're going down there, I'll go with you."

And then I figured it out. He was doing it just to be nice, because he saw a younger woman running by herself at night. It seems that chivalry at least has a pulse.

Of course, his plan probably backfired, because now I feel even less threatened running by the bayou knowing that people like my mystery veteran runner are around. This still does not entirely counteract the fact that I have been sitting on the ground bleeding more than once on that trail with people passing me left and right, but it goes a little way to make me feel better about the world.

Thanks old-timer!

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