“Nod: to bend (the head) in a short, quick downward movement, as of assent or greeting.” ~ Dictionary.com

Runners have a code.

It’s a nod.

When runners cross paths, they nod, with a tad bit of a smile and a “good morning” in my case.

In the suburban areas the runners beautifully honour this code. Moreover, the nod is extended to walkers and bikers as well.

I’ve been noticing on my runs in urban areas that the nod has somewhat faded. Some still respect it but others pass you by with just a glance, looking away or plainly staring you up and down in that split of a second!

Is it possible that if you place the suburban person in an urban setting long enough, the nodding tradition gets replaced with the above-mentioned gestures?

Maybe. Maybe not.

The dissipating “code” in urban areas does not only pertain to runners, but to the bikers, the walkers, and the drivers as well. By the way, I’m only referring to the “outdoorsy” runners, as I know those who go to the gym run in the same direction facing a window or wall! You get the idea! 😀

I’ve also noticed that the early 7:00 am ones are much more cheerful than the 10:00 am ones. Isn’t that interesting? I thought it would be the other way around, thinking if you were to sleep in you’d be in a better mood, right?!

How different is the running course from our everyday society?

You smile at some, frown at some, ignore the rest (or pretend to ignore!) on your way to work, home, grocery store, appointments, etc. while rushing to get to the next destination.

The code only survives when there is connection; human connection as in eye contacts, smiles, and greetings. The weaker the effort gets for connection, the chance of its survival becomes slimmer.


Isn’t the journey of getting from one point to another the essence of living and learning? You never know what you may encounter along the way that will teach you something new and amazing about yourself and others.

The main satisfaction of my run comes from the awareness and presence in my surroundings and myself. It makes the run much more lively and fun. The blaring music in my ears helps too! 😀

I put myself to the test recently and ran the same urban course in a week to see if my own behaviour would get affected.

I mirrored them all: ignoring the “ignorers”, looking away from or frowning back at the “frowners”, and smiling at the “nodders” and “smilers”!

It was safe but sooooo BORINGGG!!!!

I’m back at my own style again. I nod and say “good morning” no matter what expressions are thrown back at me and simply respect the code.

Choose to teach and not to just follow what’s been set by some others who weren’t aware.


I’m sure at some point in time the urban code was as respected as much as the suburban one until a few decided not to care anymore.

You have the power and ability change it back and for the better. Give it a try on your next journey to any place next time.

Honour the code and human connection.

Offer them your great smile. It’s worth it.

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