Blog Physical

Why do runners in the UK not say “Hello” to each other?



I’ve been thinking about this post for a while. Runners in the UK don’t say “Hello” or acknowledge one another when they pass each other.


This morning, I think I got one smile, following me nodding hello to around 20 runners. I always look up as I pass other runners, however many didn’t look up and stared straight into the distance.


I spend some time during my year in Poland, and there, nearly every runner you pass acknowledges you. Most raise a hand, some nod a hello, and some verbalise a response. The difference is very clear.

Running vs Cycling

I also cycle in the UK, and here, it’s almost as if you have to say hello! Riders passing you in the same and opposite direction will clearly verbalise a greeting, and the minimum is a nod. There’s the odd raise hand or finger from the handlebars, but this is not always recommended at speed.


Running is a more individual sport. Much of the time, runners, run on there own and are in their own space. Cycling is a more group activity. I rarely cycle on my own, therefore I’m already in a more sociable place and greet other cyclists willingly.

Is it just the UK?

I admit my sample pool is quite small, in South West London. It’s a hotbed for runners and other active people. It’s not as if I only pass 2 or 3 others. I also can’t speak for the whole nation; maybe there are very affable runners dotted all over the place.


If you’re female and on your own, it’s understandable why you would keep your head down and get on with your run. Though, runners are very sociable at events and always supportive of each other, so why not on a training run?


Is it the English/British mentality that we keep ourselves to ourselves and are not that gregarious? I don’t know for sure. The difference that runners in Poland say “hello” to one another and UK runners say “hello” so much less is very pronounced in my experience.


Next time you are out on a run, don’t be afraid to say “hello”. It feels good, and the connecting with others will pick you and the other person up.


Is it something you have noticed? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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