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Ask Marilyn: Why Do Mall-Walkers Travel Counter-Clockwise?

Thomas Sweda of Lombard, Illinois, writes:

Marilyn: I power-walk at my local mall several times a week. I've noticed that almost all walkers go counter-clockwise. Do you know if this is universally true? If so, why?

Marilyn responds:

Well, it sure seems true! I assume mall-walkers travel in that direction because nearly all races are run counter-clockwise. People are used to this and follow suit without thinking much about it. But why are races run that way? I don't know, but my best guess is that it's somewhat easier for right-handers to travel around a curving path in that direction. If so, going counter-clockwise in races—even when they include horses or autos—could easily become the norm.



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