Athletics Magazine

Etiquette for Peeing on the Trail

By Brisdon @shutuprun

Just when you think you had heard it all, you get blindsided.

A reader, Rob, had an interesting situation come while running on the trails a few weeks ago. He said he had to make a quick judgment call about what to do, and wondered what true “trail running etiquette” was for this particular puzzling situation.

Rob was running along minding his own business. He took a turn, leaving a heavily wooded area, and came onto an open prairie. That’s when he encountered it - a woman "squatting" just two feet off the trail.

Rob didn’t make it clear if she was doing #1 or #2. I suspect it was #1 or he would have said otherwise (and been traumatized for life). Rob’s eyes met the eyes of the urinator with an "oh crap" expression. He wasn’t sure if he should:

  1. Immediately turn around
  2. Backtrack into the woods and wait for her to finish, or
  3. Keep going.

Rob opted for Door #3. Best part was, as he was running by, the urinator gave a head nod and said “Hello.” What a friendly urinator this gal was!

Etiquette for Peeing on the Trail

Rob says, “I've looked on other running blogs for proper etiquette but no one seems to cover this situation. Was I in the wrong?”

I have to say I’ve never encountered this situation, per se. I have definitely been in races where people are peeing everywhere, but I’ve never been on a trail when I encountered a squatter when was just one-on-one awkwardness.

I don’t know if there is true etiquette around this situation. My thought is that if she had the guts to pee right there by the trail without making an effort to conceal herself, then all bets are off. I would keep running as Rob did, and give a nice friendly runner wave. I might even yell out, “Nice form!”

However, with Rob being a dude, and the urinator being a lady (uh…maybe not), this may had an additional dynamic to take into account. So complex!

What would you do? Is there running etiquette for this situation?


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