Practise running etiquette for safer races

Like many Singaporeans, I am a regular participant of the running events organised yearly.

I enjoy most of the races despite the humidity. But one thing which consistently irritates me is how faster runners get blocked by slower runners, especially at the narrower parts of a route.

I have even seen couples nonchalantly holding hands and strolling in the middle of the path. Not only is this frustrating for serious runners who want to clock their "personal best", but it is also dangerous as faster runners perform their "zig-zags".

It is definitely all right to slow down or walk in this meritocratic sport. The issue here is not that runners don't want to give way, but that there seems to be no common guideline for slower runners to keep to one side here.

The only time I saw such a suggestion is in the race guide issued by the organisers of the recent Sundown Marathon. Nevertheless, this code of behaviour is neither well known, commonly practised, nor emphasised by race organisers in Singapore.

I suggest a concerted effort by all race organisers to promote this informal rule of racing: Slower runners and walkers should keep to the left along the whole route.

When a fellow runner behind shouts "on your right!", racers should move to the left to facilitate overtaking.

The emcee at the starting point can repeatedly remind everybody about this "rule" before the flag-off.

Along the way, racers should also politely remind walkers to keep to the left.

It will probably take a couple of years to inculcate this practice into runners here, but if it works, racing will be much more pleasant in our country.

Mok Heng Ngee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 12, 2015, with the headline 'Practise running etiquette for safer races'. Print Edition | Subscribe