When running on a sidewalk


When running on the sidewalk or multi-purpose trails, stay on the right and pass on the left. It's a simple rule but seems to be neglected even when walking.

When running on the streets

Run against traffic if running on the road. You'll be able to see the traffic coming in your direction and be more aware of their behavior.

This is the so-called “The left-hand rule”, meaning that you are running at your left hand side (just in front of the coming traffic).

There is one notable exception to the left-hand rule. For those times when you’re running up a hill, it is better to run on the right side of the road. You’ll give cars coming in the opposite direction a longer time to see you as they crest the hill.

Note: The “left-hand rule” applies to all countries where the driver seats in the left hand side of the car and drives on the right hand side of a two-ways street. Countries like UK, Australia, and some others, were the driving rules are the opposite, should use the “Right hand rule”.

Hit the sidewalk

Unless laws prohibit it, runners are considered pedestrians and may run on sidewalks as a protection from traffic.

Share the sidewalk

Don't run in the middle of the sidewalk. If running in a group and the sidewalk is not wide enough, run in a single line.

The common rule dictates that side by side running is allowed only when the path is wide enough. Be nice! Share the road with your fellow runners, cyclists, walkers and even dogs.

Use the crosswalk

Haven't you heard of several accidents in which runners were struck by vehicles?. The majority of which occurred when the runner was not using the crosswalk.

It only takes a few seconds to get there. Remember you're training! The best place to look for a PB (Personal Best) is at a race when streets are closed.

When passing someone


Alert pedestrians when you are passing them. Do not assume they are aware of their surroundings. A simple on your left warning will be enough.


If you're on a trail with no room to overtake another runner, wait 30 seconds then ask to slip by. If you're on a track, pass on the right. In a race, pass on either side of a runner ahead of you.

Not cool

You don't have to yell to let them know, unless they are wearing an mp3 player at full volume and leave you no choice. (Read the rule about music usage below)

When running in a bike path

Fast cyclists are supposed to use the roads, while recreational cyclists and runners are expected to share bike paths. You can’t assume that cyclists will yield to you, allow them some room to pass on your left.

In some countries the law says that vehicles [bikes and cars] are to give way to pedestrians, but you also have to look out for your survival.

When using a stroller

You, the baby and stroller makes three. When running with a stroller, you increase the danger of collisions. Leave 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 meters) between you and the next person to protect yourself, your kid, and everyone else in your path.

Since the stroller is technically a vehicle, you should give the right of way to other pedestrians. Racing with a stroller is an entire different subject that will not be covered here.

When you get to a stop sign

Stop at stop signs and ensure oncoming traffic yields to you before proceeding across a road. Don’t assume cars will stop if you are entering a cross walk.

When running with dogs

If you run with Rex, Fido or Max, keep him close by, on a tight leash, and move to the side so runners can pass without interruption.

If you see a bike coming your way, make sure your dog won't get in their way, try to bite the bike tires or, most importantly, try to eat the rider.

Be careful on the U-Turns

If you are running an out-and-back route, don’t just make a sudden u-turn at your turn around point. Stop, step to the right to allow oncoming traffic the opportunity to pass.

Make sure the road or trail is clear of oncoming traffic (runners, cyclists, in-line skaters, etc.). Then make your u-turn. Making a sudden u-turn without looking over your shoulder is a good way to get hit.

Don't be that guy

Leave the mp3 player at home when running in a group

Listening to music is a great energy boost, but if you're joining others to run, it's rude to wear headphones. It is plain and simple!

Keep music levels low

Do you really think it makes sense to turn up music so loud that you can't hear cars?

Try this

Set the maximum output level of your mp3 player to 75% its max.

Not this

Using earbuds that make more noise outside than inside your ear.

When caught by a red light

It's ok if you stop. Sharks die when they stop moving. Runners do not.

Keep this in mind next time you encounter a “don't walk” sign at a busy intersection. There's no need to jog in place or dance from foot to foot like if you had to pee. Stop your watch and just relax.

When you see someone running

Acknowledge fellow runners. This one is up for debate, but if you see someone running towards you, nod a quick hello.

Enjoy a fleeting moment of shared humanity. Acknowledge each other's travails. Cyclists manage it without any bother, but in many places runners respond to a smile with an irritated frown, or by pretending not to notice. Come on people, share a little love. What's the harm?

Share the path

Running two or three abreast on a busy path is the equivalent of sitting in the middle lane on a highway.

Do it mindlessly and you'll irritate people, get sworn at and have no one but yourself to blame if you end up getting pushed into a canal.

When someone passes gas

Passing gas while running is excusable and inevitable. Runners ingest a fair amount of healthy foods, which produce gas in the GI (gastro intestinal) tract, where it cannot stay forever. If a runner has clearly taken pains to mask flatulence, the polite thing is to pretend nothing happened.

If a runner has clearly taken pains to mask flatulence, the polite thing is to pretend nothing happened.

Wear a shirt

This subject is also up for debate. Gentlemen: if on a sunny day, you should ever be tempted to go running on an inner-city street without a shirt on, please think twice before doing so. This isn't Venice Beach and you're not Matthew McConaughey. It’s not nice at all!

Don't litter

Don't do it, seriously. Look around you – it is lovely here. So put that energy gel wrapper back in your pocket.

If you can’t find a trash can, carry your trash home.


Pay for your race

Running in a race for which you are not registered, also called "banditing", is not fair to race organizers, volunteers, and especially to the people who have paid to participate.

Try this

Plan your race a year in advance and register early for upcoming ones. You may even save a few bucks if you do so.

You could also

When a race is already sold out, volunteer for it. Some races give you the chance to register early for the following year event.

Follow the rules of the race

All runners have a collective responsibility to keep the event safe. Races generally discourage running with dogs, headphones, cell phones, and jogging strollers.

Each race is different. Read the Athlete Guide. Someone spent a lot of time gathering all the rules for you. If you still have doubts, write an email or call the race organizers.

Make sure you're in the right corral

Line up according to how fast you plan to run or walk during the event. Slower runners and walkers should move to the back of the race pack. Just because you arrived early does not mean you should be at the front of the starting line.

You've all seen him/her. The man/woman (must likely a man) who lines up suicidally close to the front of the pack, starts off at a pace he has no hope of sustaining and ends up walking, hands on hips and gasping for air, before the race is half-done. Don't be that guy.

If you need to drop your clothes.

Don’t drop clothing on the course after you warm-up. If you must shed layers of clothing, tie them around your waist or place them on the side of the road where no one will trip over them. If you drop it, don’t expect to get it back.

Be clean

Bodily functions are a fact of life during a race. If you need to spit, blow your nose or throwup, move to the side of the road and do it there. If nature calls, check for a port-a-potty, an open business, a kind neighbor along the course, or as a last resort, a discreet clump of bushes before relieving yourself.

Usage of the Port-a-potties

Use the facilities before the race start to lessen the need once on the course. Keep the facilities clean for the person in line after you.

You can be disqualified (DQ) if you're caught using mother nature as your personal washroom. Make sure you know where the port-a-potties are located or ask a volunteer, they'll let you know.

Move to the side if someone is passing you

If someone behind you says “excuse me” or “on your right/left”, please move to the side carefully. The person behind you is giving you a heads up before passing. It’s proper race etiquette to let that person pass without blocking their effort.

Don't stop on the middle of the road

If you need to stop for any reason (tie your shoe, nose blow, etc.) move to the side of the road and step off the course.

Thank your Marshals

Race marshals get up before dawn on Sunday mornings to stand for hours on rainy street corners and stop you from getting lost. They share the same passion you do for running. A simple gesture of gratitude will cheer them up.

Show appreciation to Volunteers

Say "Thank You!" to race volunteers who hand you water or put your medal around your neck.They're volunteering their time and the race would not be successful without them.

Thanks supporters too

Acknowledge race spectators who cheer you as you pass them by. If you're too tired tosay "thanks," show them a smile, wave, or give them a thumbs up. It will make them feel good and encourage them to keep rooting on others.

Aid Stations

When approaching an aid station

Move to the right and grab your fluid/nutritional needs from the volunteers or the aid table then move forward, clearing the way for others to use it.

Try this

Step to the right side of the road and proceed to the aid station as soon as you spot it. Word of advice: get your fluid/nutritional needs on the last two tables.

Not this

Choosing to grab your hydration at the last second and change your lane abruptly at the last minute. Or getting out of the aid station suddenly, crashing with the runners that are trying to get in.

Throw your used cup carefully

Throw your used cup to the right side, away from the course, as close to an aid station as possible. Discard it at the height of your waist as opposed to tossing it over your shoulder. The person behind you may not appreciate the shower if the cup is not empty.

Finish Line

Keep Moving forward on the finish line

Once you have crossed the finish line, keep moving forward until the end of the finish chute. Stay in finishing order if the event is not electronically timed so the finish line volunteers can remove the pull tags for scoring.

Enjoy your meal and leave something for the rest

Enjoy the post-race refreshments, but remember it is not an all you can eat buffet for you and your family.