On Running in Rome
Just back from a three-week stint working away (Rome) and was so nice to be out running my usual route today (Berkshire, England), even if the weather was slightly soggy in comparison.
Managed to get out for a few runs while I was away, the running shoes were the first item in the suitcase naturally, and during the runs I couldn’t help notice a marked difference between the two running communities of Rome and Home. In the latter, and indeed wherever I have ran in Blighty the passing of two unknown runners is always met with some acknowledgement, be it a nod or a smile, a tired “hey”, or an exuberant thumbs up. Whatever the greeting, this sign of solidarity and unspoken sense of community always provides a little boost and added reassurance that all is good in the world after all. During all of the miles plodding in Rome, I don’t recall even one tilt of the head or single “ciao” from any of my Italian comrades. Now, I know for a fact that this isn’t due to Romans not being very friendly because I’ve met some really lovely people during my working trip. It did make me wonder if Roman runners were just generally not a very cheerful bunch? Or are they too busy running too quickly to be courteous? Or do I just look a bit odd?
Although trying to not take it personally, this did leave me feeling a somewhat perplexed if not a little saddened. On reflection my response to the blank stares was perhaps not the best. Rather than accepting the situation and just plodding on I sub-consciously developed an over-the-top style greeting in the hope of coaxing out some acknowledgement from my European friends. I waved at everyone I passed, I smiled and nodded and heavy-breathed a “ciao”, and even gave a double-thumbs up sign to one bewildered looking chap, but to no-avail; the Italian runners were not biting.