Runners and walkers

 

Sir, – Further to recent correspondence (Letters March 28th), as a runner, I am routinely forced to pass walkers on busy roads, through ankle-deep mud and even the occasional holly bush.

This is not out of virtuous attempts to maintain a physical distance, but because some walkers wander obliviously two or four abreast, complete with a trailing band of children on scooters and dogs on long extendable leads.

This is particularly bothersome on pathways where walkers coming from the opposite direction are also forced to divert their route to avoid the oncoming circus.

When walking I have never found it difficult to look around and maintain the spatial awareness to know when a runner is approaching. When I pause or stand aside to make it easy for a runner to avoid me, it is almost always met with a panted “thank you” in recognition of someone who understands their plight.

I disagree with the assertion that most runners consider themselves sportspeople; many are just normal people who are looking for a free and accessible way to stay fit and healthy – and to avoid the kind of long-term, underlying health conditions that result in vulnerability to coronavirus in the first place.

The unavoidable fact is that at present, more people are using our public spaces than ever before, and this is a very good thing.

I hope it’s a habit that is maintained long after this situation is resolved.

And while we’re all in a positive habit-building mood, I think it would be helpful if we could all agree on some simple etiquette.

Keep dogs on short leashes, don’t walk on pathways in large groups, maintain an awareness of other people using the space by occasionally looking around, stay to the left-hand side of pathways so others can pass on the right, have respect for older walkers who may find it harder to divert their path than you do and, above all, spare a thought for other people who are likely reciprocating your feelings of frustration. – Yours, etc,

HAROLD FITZPATRICK,

Rathfarnham,

Dublin 16.

Sir, – I am a runner, a jogger, a plodder. I plod around the 2km radius as I have done nearly every day for the last few years.

What I’ve noticed now is that more people are giving a smile and a nod, and sometimes a gentle wave, when passing.

It’s about mutual respect, acknowledging the fact that we are all in this together, and that getting outside for some exercise is possibly the best choice you can make at the moment. – Yours, etc,

JENNIFER KELLY,

Mount Merrion,

Co Dublin.