Manners go off-the rails when gym members turn the indoor track into a chatroom.

Sure, the gym can be a super place to meet up with friends. But what happens when such gatherings get in the way of other members’ workouts?

This just happened.

I finished my jaunt on the treadmill and stepped onto the indoor track for a cool-down jog. But that’s not exactly how it turned out.

Four ladies stood and visited partway down one side of the track. One even had a baby stroller. By parking themselves right there to socialize, they actually blocked two of the four lanes of the track. And those just happened to be the lanes marked for running, rather than walking.

I passed them at least 10 times, looping to the inside to get around them on each lap. I saw others do the same. 

The chatting ladies were clueless. They seemed to have no idea that they were impeding running traffic on the track.

Finally, the ladies made their way to the exit, apparently unaware their stopping had created a stopgap.

Did I mention this little gathering took place less than 20 yards from the corner of the building, where open space was available, even including a few chairs? The ladies could have stayed all afternoon in that spot, which is specifically designated for stopping.

Out of curiosity, I checked with a gym employee afterwards to see if strollers were even permitted on the track.

“Strollers are allowed on the inside running track, but we ask that you stay in the inside lane of the track, which is the walking lane,” explained a staffer.

The mom with the stroller was nowhere near the slow lane, as she and her cronies occupied the area intended for members who were actually moving forward – and at a good clip.

I didn’t report the track-choking chatterers, although I thought about it.

But here’s the thing. The track is for running (or walking). The gym has plenty of other spots for visiting. They have benches in the locker room, tables with chairs in the lobby, classrooms open for reservation, and bleachers in the gym and pool areas.

Runners create traffic on the indoor running track. Would people stop to chat in traffic?

It’s pretty simple: The track is for making tracks. Let’s keep things moving, can we?

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Adapted from public domain artwork.

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