This morning I had an awkward and upsetting experience on my long run. I was running the Bentonville Half Marathon course as were a bunch of other runners. I was coming up on a group of 3 - a husband/wife and 2nd female. We were on a two-lane road with several curves, near two very busy churches, without a sidewalk. The group ahead of me was running three across and I watched them adjust to single file as cars approached. As we neared a curve though the two women were looking at each other and they didn't seem to be paying attention to the two cars speeding towards them.
I called out "Cars." Then when they still didn't do anything, "You guys, Cars!" I would have done the same thing for anyone else. We've all had those runs where you get to talking and lose awareness of your surroundings...think cars can see you, etc. I didn't say anything bad just yelled with urgency since the cars weren't swerving to avoid this group at all. Well, as I passed the runners a few seconds later, the man in the group turned to me and yelled "Don't you ever do that to us again." I was shocked because he spoke with so much anger. I think I just looked back and said "Happy Sunday to you too."
I kept going maybe 200 feet and just got more and more upset. So...big mistake...I turned back around and approached the group. I asked why did I make you so mad, I was simply offering a caution. I tried to explain what I saw and that it's runner courtesy to look out for one another. The husband and wife wouldn't listen to me and kept yelling at me and saying "We know what we're doing." I was tearful and trying to explain myself and tell them how upsetting their reaction was. Why make me feel like such an ass**** for just offering caution? I was so shocked at how much venom they had in their voices as they yelled at me. Finally, the girl with them just told me it's okay, just go so I did. As I ran off, the guy continued to trash talk me saying something about me being full of drama.
The situation bothered me my entire run...this happened around mile 3 of my 9 miles. I met up with the other Rush Runners at the square after and told them what had happened. They were shocked...some knew the couple and were even more surprised. My coach joked that they must have been mad since I was passing them but I don't know. Something was definitely wrong for them to react that way.
Lesson learned...don't ever have any interaction with that couple again. It's a small running community but I will go out of my way to avoid that kind of negative energy. I'm not proud of myself for trying to engage in a conversation with them because nothing good came out of it. I just got hurt feelings and felt miserable being verbally attacked. Mean people suck but you can't let them ruin your day. I posted my story on the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge Facebook page and the ladies were quick to agree that calling out a warning is the friendly thing to do. That helped me feel better as did heading back out to the course to cheer on my friend Lori who was running a self-supported marathon.
The whole thing made me very sad for this couple...it's great that they have each other to look out for but the beautiful thing about the running community is that we look out for everyone. I hope that someday they come to appreciate the beauty in that...we have a simple sport yet so much bad can happen from abductions, assaults, falls, heart attacks, etc. Our community is strong because we stand together and support each other. I'm thankful for that and I always appreciate a warning as much as a hello from another athlete! Thankfully this is my first and only time experiencing something so negative with another runner and I really hope it's the last one too!