What is the proper etiquette about running and having another runner blow their nose on you? When it hits you do you have the right to get mad, or do you accept it as part of participating in the sport?
Surprisingly I am asked this question on a fairly regular basis as a result of my work with CEA International ("Chronically Expectorant Anonymous", an organization formed for the phlematically challenged).
To those who have not experienced this social faux pas, it is common for runners, in the midst of a road race, to find themselves dodging both oral and nasal "mucous projectiles" and "road splatterings".
While the graphic nature of my descriptions here may be considered offensive to some, it's important not to ignore the effect of "having another runner blow their nose on you" as a negative force against race performance.
No discussion on "runners snot" would be complete without pondering the physical, psychological and biological effects of targeted "nasal emissions".
If, when running, another runner should blow their nose at you from a short distance of a few feet, the incoming force of the projected projectile will slow you down with an equal and opposite force. In most cases the effect of a targeted liquid volley will be minimal, dependent on the mass, velocity and acceleration of the projected material as well as your own speed, weight and direction of travel.
The negative connotations associated with having been "slimed" is well known but often overlooked. Particularly squeamish runners might respond by giving up the race, and darting not forward, but rather in an alternate direction. Others might attain a sense of agitation, producing some quantity of adrenaline, which would drive them to run faster.
The chemical effects of having someone nasally "expectorate" on you is a study of the viral contamination of ones own immediate biosphere. Teaming with viral infectors, nasal ejecta is a major contributor of contagious disease transport among life forms. It's not fun to run when you've become ill, and thus a mucous transfer of sickness is an unwelcome invitation to unscheduled rest.
If, while running, someone should accidentally "blow his or her nose" on you, you have the right to be angry, but it's not polite to express that anger with equal force. Should the "expectoration" be a purposeful act, it may be acceptable to "huck a luggie" in response, consciously sending the message that you found the intention to be rude. As always, we here at Run The Planet recommend that you check with the local customs. Although we have no record of "nose blowing" as a symbol of respect and honor, we do acknowledge that the world is a large and interesting place to run upon. Do so with style and grace, and don't forget your handkerchief!