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The Globe and Mail

From dogs to iPods, runners weigh in on the hazards of the road

This time of year is like opening day for baseball. Or the January surge in gym memberships. Runners who soldiered on in the depths of winter are now joined by hordes of newbies. Where did all of these new johnny-come-lately joggers come from? And then there are all the other spring "hazards" for runners. We asked readers for their running pet peeves. Here's what they had to say:

Robyn: "Spring's nice weather always fills the parks and trails with people who aren't usually there. It's difficult to enjoy your run when you have to spend all your energy focusing on not bumping into people who are taking pictures of trees."

Mikey: "Running boot camps that feel they own an entire path because they are in a group."

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Sarah: "I've had owners let the leash run to its limit to let their little fur ball reach me. I'm not a dog hater, I just don't love strangers' dogs."

Fabio: "I'm an avid runner and I still don't understand the spitting and snot rockets from other runners. It's just gross."

Jojo: People on bikes: use your bells, please! Walkers: Please don't put yourself seven abreast while walking on the sidewalk.

Rob: "People with earbuds who can't hear me ask them loudly to move out of the way so I can pass them without scaring them. Turn down the volume, or wear just one bud."

Nike: "Definitely other runners who are blaring their iPods. Not only are they a hazard to everyone on the path, but they're missing out on the chance to strengthen their concentration and willpower."

Amy: "Do you know how much doggy doo-doo there is on the grass right next to the sidewalk? One wrong step and it's a stinky run back home!"

Cath: "New runners with terrible form: flailing arms, hunched shoulders, limp hands, a stride that will clearly lead to knee injury within weeks."

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Run-a-Roo: "The speed demons who like to zip so close to you when they go by just to show off how quick they are, and the running groups – they're in their own world and take up as much space possible."

Lovebuns: "Sad to say it but the biggest irritation is children on the paths who are stumbling around, diving into you with their huge heads like homing missiles."

Scott: "I wouldn't vent about anything. It makes me happy to see anyone running (or getting exercise in general); I don't care if they are fast or slow. Having a positive, lighthearted attitude is important to successful running. This was one of the main themes in Christopher McDougal's Born to Run. Relax... chill out... be happy and thankful each time you are out running and be kind to all of the other runners out there."

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