Jean Knaack is seasoned runner — she’s the executive director of the Road Runners Club of America.
So it came as a complete surprise to her when she almost got into a fist fight on an easy six mile training run in Maryland with a driver of car.
According to The New York Times:
"Ms. Knaack, a 115-pound runner, had been jogging on the sidewalk when the vehicle had come within inches of hitting her. The driver had blindly pulled out of an adjacent parking lot, and Ms. Knaack responded with the aggressive squirt, coupled with a few choice expletives.
She did not anticipate what happened next.
The driver pulled the rest of the way out of the parking lot and into the street, whipped around in an intersection, got out of the car, and confronted her. Amid of flurry of profanities, the motorist threatened to strike her with a beer bottle. “The fact that he was so specific really scared me,” she said. “My heart rate shot sky high. I felt like I was going to pass out.”
While road rage between cyclists and motorists has drawn some attention lately, adversity has long existed between runners and motorists “on a low level,” says Brent Ayer, the head running coach at Hood College in Frederick, Md., who, years back, was pelted with a jelly doughnut while running.
Not that it’s always the driver’s fault. “I watch runners cut through intersections, cross in the middle of the street, and crowd cars,” Mr. Ayer said. “We are not entirely blameless.”
An estimated 41 million Americans are counted as runners, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, and public roads are often their best option. Wooded trails isolate runners, and treadmills are considered poor training tools if used exclusively in preparation for a road race. Running around a track gets tedious."