While at Kohl’s this morning, I saw a guy in a Broad Street Run shirt. Naturally, I had to approach him.
I mean, right? This is natural. Everyone does this. And if you don’t, you totally should. (Similar to the runner’s wave. If you don’t know about it, check out Ashley at RatherBeRunnin’s post.)
Approaching other runners while in a non-running setting can be a bit tricky.
Bound: Bounding up to them like a puppy off-leash for the first time is an option, but the potential to scare them off is high. I usually only bound if I know the person and they are already well aware of my brand of crazy.
Direct approach: Less scary than the Bound for the recipient. Simply walk up a person and say “Love the Broad Street Run – it was my first time running this year. Have you run it more than once?”
Sidle: The word sidle is a bit off-putting because I always picture a shady person in a trench coat sliding up next to you and offering some illegal substance.
However, in this case, it’s running and so it takes on a more casual, less Shady McShadester connotation.
Find them in an aisle. Ideally, aim for one that’s not, like, underwear or Imodium. “So, hey, I see you were at Broad Street on May 5th. Funnily enough, so was I.” (As were 39,998 others. It’s actually not that rare – I’ve seen three people wearing these shirts in the past three days.)
Mutual wearing: The best is when you’re wearing the same shirt at the same time and place. Serendipitous!
There’s that mutual recognition: you both look at the other person’s shirt, look down at your own shirt and then say something witty like “Nice shirt, where’d you get it?”
It’s absolutely glorious.
During an event: Okay, so this is a bit different because obviously at race events, you’re going to see race shirts of races past. However, I got super excited (it doesn’t take much, you’ve probably figured this out by now) during Broad Street when I saw a cheering guy on the median wearing one of these:
I felt like he was there specifically for me. As I got my high five from him I yelled out something like “Yeah, AC April Fools!” Because I’m limited to four or five word sentences while I’m running. But we totally would have been besties were I not in the middle of a race. I’m sure of it.
When I was younger, my mom talked to everyone. At the supermarket (aka the “stupidmarket” as we so brilliantly called it) she chatted it up with the people at the deli counter, in the aisles, on the checkout line – everyone. I was mortified. Do you know that person? “No,” she’d reply more often than not. “I’m just being friendly.”
Pooks is not nearly as timid as I was when I was a kid; when I approach a runner and he’s with me, he’ll chime in with his thoughts. As we walk away, he always asks if I knew the person. And I can say, with great authority, “Well, of course! We ran a race together.”
Am I missing any ways to approach a runner? Have any fun stories to share?