008: Why It’s More Than Just a Runner’s Wave

It’s not a law, rule, or even a requirement. There’s no handbook passed out on your first day (run). And there’s certainly no one that’s ever been arrested for not doing it. But somehow the runner’s wave continues to grow in popularity without anyone telling us to do it.

It could be a quick wave of the hand, a friendly smile, or even just the peace sign — but regardless of the gesture, the runner’s wave is certainly part of an unspoken code.

That’s the fascinating part about it. It’s unspoken but somehow just understood. No one taught us that we have to wave or acknowledge our fellow runners. There’s no handbook or set of rules requiring it. Each runner, regardless of age, gender, race, or ethnicity, continues to acknowledge their fellow runners as they pass them on the road, trail, or track.

That’s the power of this simple activity.

Running has the power to teach people about getting along with others. To bring people closer together. To help people put aside their differences and see each other for what we really are — human beings.

The simple act of running allows us to forget about all the meaningless external stuff and come together as one. As human beings.

That’s the true power of the runner’s wave. It brings us closer together when everything else in this world is driving us apart.

Sure, the brief hello to a fellow runner is nice. A silent acknowledgment of each others’ hard work. And sometimes even a little energy boost.

But it’s more than that.

Without uttering a single word, and in just a matter of seconds, runners easily form a bond with someone they don’t even know. Someone they passed briefly on the street.

By acknowledging our similarities, instead of focusing on our differences, we’re able to come together as human beings.

That’s the power of the runner’s wave. It represents the golden rule for getting along with others — focus on similarities rather than differences. And it’s this rule that will bring us together when everything else seems to be pushing us apart.

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