I don’t really belong to any sort of “runners” community, but I do see regulars on their circuits. I call them by their distinguishable traits. Some are runners, some are just everyday people, like the “dog walker with long brown hair” or the “adorable Hispanic couple” or the “smoking barber” or the “mother with three kids.” The runners are more distinguishable by particular traits, like “Nike Shoes” or “Crew Cut” or Short Shorts” or “No Shirt.” Simple identifications exist for these regulars, and yet I don’t even know their names.
I’m not particularly interested in getting to know any of them. I consider running to be a wholly solitary experience. It is possible to run with friends, but the pursuit of excellence isn’t competitive enough to be shared. Friends in the running community are merely a motivation to run. That’s why a lot of running groups exist. It’s either a way to get people to run, or to support a cause or raise money. Some run in groups to train for marathons, which is admirable, but it’s just not for me. I run simply to run.
Even without wanting to know my regulars, I know them, and they know me. I see them and they see me, almost every day, at particular times, running and pushing myself. They know this one thing about me, and somehow I can tell it intrigues them, because it intrigues me when I see others do the same thing. I actually enjoy seeing my regulars, because as time goes on, they’ll notice the change in my appearance, the strength of my step, and the speed at which I pass them.