I've been a runner for some time, but this weekend I encountered a situation that hasn't come up yet. Most of the races I've ever done have sole use of the path or cordoned off portions of the path so runners do not have to worry about sharing the path with others.

This weekend I was on a leisurely run on a path in a nature preserve when an organized race came through in the opposite direction. I was 3 miles from being back to my car. The path is wide enough for 3 people. I was choosing to run as far to the side as possible and otherwise continuing on my way. A runner in front of me chose to stop any time there were more than a few people heading our way. Once I saw her doing this, it sort of made sense, because if a racer wanted to pass other racers at the precise moment we were running through, they wouldn't be able to. On the other hand, it also meant we were on the path for much longer than if we'd carried on normally.

What is the etiquette in this situation? Obviously we were too late for the preferred "keep the area clear for the racers" approach.

  • 1
    The below poster is correct. If it's a shared use path and the organizers don't choose to coordinate with the city to block it off for anything but racers, the racers take their own chances. It's also on them to run safely, it doesn't all fall on you.
    – JohnP
    Oct 27, 2022 at 13:58

1 Answer 1


If you're out for a leisurely run and there is an organized race that conflicts with your path, I'd give the organized race the "right of way" as the other runner you mentioned did.

On the other hand, if I'm in an organized race and I want to pass but I'm obstructed, I don't pass till I have way.

Be courteous in either situation and you'll be fine.

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