I’m a runner, have been for years. Whenever I see another runner coming my way, or more commonly these days, running past me I make an effort to connect. A grunt, a wave a quick eyebrow raise – you know the thing.
I don’t do this for dog walkers, people out for a stroll or cyclists, just runners – we are bonded by our runningness, we are a clan apart. Of course, when I’m on my bike I acknowledge cyclists, but that’s a different matter, when I’m running I only court the the commeraderie of other runners.
Over the decades I have been doing this I have noticed that other male runners invariably do the same, but other female runners invariably do not. I have always assumed that this is because they assume I am some sort of proto rapist. Not because I, me, Nicholas Chivers looks particularly like a proto rapist, but because I’m a man and women assume we’re all proto rapists.
But apparently not. I recounted this self same observation to my wife who is also a runner the other day. ‘No darling’ (O.K. she didn’t call me ‘darling, we’re not living in the 1950’s after all) ‘they ignore me too’.