How the hell do you avoid scaring the crap out of other people when you're running? I managed to scare some dude out walking his dog this morning - twice. Once on the way out, then again on the way back. You'd think he'd have had his wits about him the second time, but hey ho. I gave him a friendly shout of "morning" when I was about 10 meters away so that he wasn't suddenly confronted with a smelly, panting mess bearing down on him. But that just meant he was scared shitless a few seconds earlier.
So what can you do avoid the (perfectly reasonable) response of abject terror from people that you pass out on the trail? What warning methods can be used to announce your presence in a nice calming way that doesn't make you look like a psychopath heading for them at speed?
In the middle of the night, it's not so bad. There are very few people about, usually your headtorch is a good pre-emotive warning, and by that point in a race I'm usually coughing loudly enough to be heard from a long way off. In the mornings there are a lot more dog walkers about, but I feel like they are more likely to expect random idiots skipping past them. But the evening is my most worrying time, as it must be pretty terrifying to hear footsteps quickly approaching from behind. I try shouting, "Don't worry, I'm not a murderer!", but that just seems to make things worse for some reason.
You just can't win with some people.
Coughing doesn't work. Saying, "Approaching on your left/right" doesn't work. Shouting, "Don't be scared!" doesn't work. Singing Meatloaf songs at the top of my lungs doesn't work (well, it warns them, but they usually aren't happy about it). Maybe I should just install some kind of siren system in my running pack?
If there's a good way to avoid scaring the bejesus out of fellow trail users I am yet to find it. I guess I'll just have to get to used to people being upset when they see me. But hey, I've had 32 years to get used to that.