Sunday, April 11, 2010


Not you, or course, but there are a lot of them out there. Runners seem to attract them, for some reason.

The other day I was jogging sedately down Lee Street when I heard the sound of a motorbike and a lot of yelling. I looked to the right and saw the bike speeding down Herring Drive. There were two riders, a boy and a girl. The boy was steering. The girl was hanging on tightly.

They flew past the stop sign at the end of Herring as if it hadn't been there, zipped across Lee right in front of me, and sped onto the gravel road that wends its way through a small trailer park. I could hear the yells as they hit the dips and bumps.

I kept on going, and not long after I was past the trailer park, the bike came roaring out. I'm not a mind reader, but I knew exactly what was going to happen. I've been running for years, and things like it have happened before.

I always run on the left side of the street, and I moved over as far as I could, running along the edge of the lawns. It wouldn't have mattered if I'd been ten feet farther off the street, however.

The motorbike zinged past me at about 50 mph, so close that if I'd stuck out my elbow, I could have cracked someone's skull. It must have seemed hilarious to them if their laughter's anything to judge by. I'm always glad to brighten someone's morning. The riders swerved back into the proper lane and turned left at the next corner. They'd stopped laughing by then, but I knew the memory of brushing past the geezer would warm their hearts for days to come.

Neither rider was wearing a helmet, but I have to admit that I was tempted to stick out that elbow. I didn't, though. After all, I wouldn't want to be a jerk.


servingHim said...


I've got several similar stories, some involving cars, pick-up trucks, and a particular one involving a van. A decade ago, running in Abilene, I picked up a rock thinking I might need it to ward off a mean dog. Instead, I had to use it in a most unexpected way.

A couple in a van passed me (I was running on the opposite side of the road as you do). They turned around about a half a mile up, and headed back toward me. I moved further off the road to give them plenty of room. The road had no curb, and as they approached me, they veered into the grass straight for me. Clearly, they intended to run me over.

Instantly, I turned and hurled the rock at the large windshield coming at me. It made a loud thawack as it hit the glass in front of the female passenger. She cringed and screamed. The driver veered back onto the road. I kept running, only faster now as I worried they might come back.

I saw the van turn off the road (now behind me), then sit parked for a bit as they must have contemplated their next move. I ran back to the motel, and reported the incident to the manager, never to see them again.

To this day, I still wonder what might have been going through their minds as they sped toward me. Like you say, maybe they were just jerks.


Bill Crider said...

I've never had anything quite that scary happen, but I've had other things that bothered me a lot. Not so much now, but when I ran in more isolated places, people seemed to be more aggressively hostile. Or maybe they were just having fun at my expense.

Todd Mason said...

Not only runners draw the attention of the borderline sociopathic (or do I give too much credit?). I was walking along the shoulder along Intersate 95 near Dale City, VA, walking back to my car after checking on what I feared was a hit dog lying about a hundred or so feet back from where I'd pulled over (this was pretty late at night and I hadn't gotten a good look while passing it--it turned out to be a small pile of rags in vaguely canine shape). So, of course, some yahoos in a pickup feel the need to run down the shoulder with the intention of making me think they'll run me down, and if they're jackass enough to "play" thus, what guarantees do I have? I jump over the guardrail, and, as you note, surely brightened their meth and/or Jack-soaked lives for a good three minutes or dozen. At least they didn't hit my car.

Bill Crider said...

I guess those people are everywhere.