Today I went for a jog. Now I live right next to Toronto’s beautiful jogging mecca, High Park. But there is a barrier – about a km of pavement along Bloor Street which manage to punish my knees and kidneys enough each way that I prefer to run nearby. Fortunately, Bishop Marocco High right across the street has a wonderful cinder running track which is very good to most of my body parts – so I generally run there.
Now normally I run alone. As I have noted elsewhere, the athletic department at Bishop Marrocco High appears to find the cinder track surrounding a football/soccer field too hard on its students … so as I said , I run alone most of the time. But on work weeks early in the morning and in the evening there are as many as half a dozen joggers from my apartment block taking advantage of a knee and bones friendly track.
However, today I was joined midway through my jog by two gentlemen dressed in all white except for some classy yellow straw hats and black shoes. Now when you share a track there is a runners protocol. Faster runners get right of way. Long distance runners doing 12 or more laps get ultimate privileges. Walkers have to make way for everybody including dogs and pets.
There is also a runners sociability protocol. Generally, a “hi” or “hello” to runners you recognize the first time you pass – but nothing is allowed to get in the way of focus and breathing. Walkers are excepted – they can and do often talk all they want. Well as it turned out my Straw Hat Gentlemen were striders of a different sort – the taller was taking the shorter for a walk around the track. No big deal… oops, bigger deal than expected. The shorter gentleman had come by walker. Clearly the taller gentlemen was helping the shorter to navigate his way around the track.
Now I am familiar with walkers. My Mom has just progressed up to the walker stage of mobility as she recovers from her second hip fracture. At the LTC where she is staying, many of the residents use walkers or wheelchairs so you quickly learn to change to their pace and progress. So what do I do at the running track?
The first time I pass my Straw Hat Striders I raise and wave my hand. Now I am running at a fair clip and they are steady but very slow. So I will pass them at least 4 more times. So another wave of the hand as I jog on by – as always I keep my pace pretty even. The third time I pass I hear a gutturall “Huuro” as I wave my hand. So I send a “hello” back. Finally, the last time I pass on by I wave and say “Hello Again” – and I hear another “Huuro too”. As this is my last lap I turn and say “Its my last lap – have a good day”. And I can clearly see they are.