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Runners run for a number of reasons. Many run because they know it is good for them. Others run for the competitive nature of the sport and the camaraderie of being around other runners. Still others run for the solitude of being out on the roads with nothing but their thoughts for a companion.

Running can be a selfish endeavor. No runner will deny this. Many runners make sacrifices daily to get their runs in.

But out of this selfishness, some tremendous good is also being done. Most road races across the country benefit one charity or another.

Unfortunately, when a large road race is being held, many pedestrians and commuters are inconvenienced. It is inspiring when the onlookers make the best of the situation and get caught up in the spirit of a race. But it is disheartening when they cannot handle the inconvenience and begin to stage a protest.

Most protests are verbal. At times, the runners and the important race volunteers face potential risks from frustrated onlookers. These people should take a good look at themselves and how upset they are.

I challenge them to stop their tirades and be a little more patient and considerate.

Here are some options for those who find themselves in the path of a road race. Take a break and simply cheer for a minute -- it makes a big difference to the runners. Or vow to try running in a future race. Many charities sponsor races for worthy causes. If that isn't possible, then volunteer to help out on a race course. Organizers are always looking for assistance.

This past Sunday, I ran in the Thundering Herd Half Marathon. As I ran, I was inspired by many, but disappointed by a few others.

In cities across the country, runners are celebrated by the community. They are encouraged along the course by cheers, water, hoses, cow bells, pots and pans, little kids giving high-fives and even marching bands.

Western New York has something to be proud of in itsracing community, but anxious drivers often spoil the event.

Runners are not out there to ruin people's day. They are on the roads celebrating a healthy lifestyle while helping others.


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