Riley Walz

Following the rules

September 16, 2020

2023 update, this post is cringe to me now but I'll leave it up

I've been running more and more around the reservoir around Central Park. Today, I ran in the morning, when it's relatively crowded. The trail is about 6 feet wide, and on top of trying to social distance, it can be a challenge trying to pass people. While it's designated as a running track, a majority of people are walking (which is allowed).

The track is one-way. There are signs that say this at every entrance. You're supposed to go counter-clockwise.

Side note: why is virtually every track in the world counter-clockwise? I guess there's a reason why.

We run counter-clockwise because everything in nature tends towards counter-clockwise motion. The list of natural phenomena that run counterclockwise is quite impressive. It includes: the molecule structure of amino acids, the shape of seashells, the rotational direction of all the planets (except Venus), and the orbital direction of the earth around the sun. On this point, Peter Brown from Sheffield argues: “Because of the effect of the Earth`s rotation, an athlete running anti-clockwise will have a slight advantage, resulting in a faster time. In the Southern Hemisphere, this effect is reversed but, as the sport grew up in the Northern Hemisphere, anti-clockwise races have remained, despite the international status of athletics. Evidence of this phenomenon is that none of the current world track records have been set south of the equator.

But anyway, the occasional person will be running or walking in the wrong direction. I mean, if they went the other way, they'd be going faster!

It's not too annoying to pass a person going the wrong way, but the rule is in place for a reason. Especially in the wake of coronavirus, one-way paths can stop the spread of coronavirus by limiting the number of times people pass one another.

I saw an old guy walking on the left of the path, on a trajectory to crash into a group of people walking the wrong way. He wasn't budging, and ran into them, before yelling that the track was one-way. And that dogs weren't allowed. They continued going the wrong way.

What does society think of this guy? I think the average person would look down on him for trying to enforce a seemingly trivial rule. But I couldn't help but yell out a "thank you."