Through the fall, i’ve high-fived my fellow running strangers all over Vancouver from Kits, DTES, to UBC, and the Sea Wall. I’ll run a couple times per week before work as well as one caffeine-fuelled long hangover cure of run a on the weekend.
My motive with #5Run is simple: bring joy to fellow runners and see if i can bring about mood changes. I wrote last year about bringing fun to running, but there’s something more important here.
If i can positively shift someone’s outlook on the day, i’ll take it. Unfortunately, this proves a bit of a challenge as Vancouver runners are a difficult bunch.
Runners epitomize culture
Runners represent a screenshot of Vancouver’s culture. There’s patches of awesomeness dispersed throughout the holier than thou choch-fest which plagues our city.
People visit or move to Vancouver and completely struggle to infiltrate social circles. I personally didn’t realize our cliquey international rep until a couple years ago. Now it’s clear, the inherent guarded social circles are glaringly obvious.
This extends to runners.
It’s embarrassing how guarded some Vancouver Runners are. Smiling at someone might garner a reaction that I visually violated them.
Can i brighten your day?
I’m determined more than ever to change status-quo for Vancouver runners – let’s call it a shakedown of sorts. I high-fived 29 keen eyed Sea Wall Runners on New Years Eve, and the reactions were mixed.
Some embrace high-fives like crazy! They’re enthused, smiling and pumped up. I had tons of people even wish me a happy new year whilst running by. Others, not so much. But that is okay, we can change that.
The point is this: if i can brighten one person’s day, its worth it. Offering a goofy smile and high-five is the least I can do to shift well-being, bring joy, and happiness to a strangers daily grind.
Life isn’t easy… we all have shit going on. Micro-interactions like a high-five make a genuine difference in a strangers normal routine.
The positive reactions I receive help me through my daily struggles (my psych friends call this ‘positive reinforcement’). Some days i’m so apprehensive that I have to force myself to extend my hand for a high-five, but it’s always worth it.
Sometimes (especially in the am when its freezing and icey) I’ll struggle to find any runners to share a five with. Here’s the party line: If i can get a positive reaction from just one person, its mission accomplished.
If this guy (points at myself) can change one person’s day (or week?) what can you do?
The effort is easy, but the rewards are exhilarating. I encourage you to try it. Start with one high-five next time you run. Let me know how it goes!
Question: Do runners epitomize the culture of your city?