During the marathon on Saturday, I started noticing a few things on the course that I felt should be addressed. As you know, I think runners are a special breed. We tend to push ourselves to the brink, and yet if we see someone in need, we will stop our own race and help them. We will often forego our own goals and hard training to ensure that another runner is taken care of or crosses the finish line.
However, there were a few things that I felt needed to be discussed. Maybe new runners or new racers don’t know a few tricks/rules of the trade. Perhaps seasoned runners could use a reminder. So let’s address a few and please add yours below if I miss any.
Respect the porta potty line. We all need to go to the bathroom. Pre-race rest stops are a requisite for us all. We stress about it. We plan it out. Jumping the line or pushing your way through is rude and disrupts the system. Be patient, arrive early, and wait your turn.
Respect the start waves. If your race doesn’t have assigned corrals, please go to the appropriate one for you. I have had many runners point out that they are a bit slower and it would make more sense for them to start up at the front and give themselves a bit more time. Races stay open to make sure you get your run in within the allotted time frame. Cutting the line and starting at a pace that isn’t yours, actually disrupts the entire race. Athletes who are planning to run at the intended pace end up getting backed up and weaving around each other. This even makes the course dangerous. Trust the system and stay where you should be.
Don’t push. Be patient and respect your fellow runners. I can’t believe I am even posting this. But I did see a runner shove people out of the way. I actually thought it was a joke at first. It is unnecessary, disrespectful to your peers, and dangerous. We already have enough road rage. Let’s keep races peaceful and avoid race rage.
Use hand signals. It is absolutely okay to walk during a race. Run/walk plans are a great way to approach training and races. But if you are running with a crowd, it is recommended that you raise your hand to signal that you will be stopping to walk. For safety reasons, this ensures that other runners won’t slam right into you and create a dangerous back up.
Look before you loogie or snot rocket. Yeah I get it. It is that time of year. Allergies are crazy right now. Running makes your nose run. If you need to hack a loogie or shoot a snot rocket, please look before you do it. Nothing is more gross than getting attacked on a race course.
Be respectful of volunteers. I am not going to say that you need to slow down and place a cup of water in the garbage bin. That isn’t always feasible. If it is possible to aim for a garbage can, please do. Say thank you if you can. Try your darndest to be kind and thoughtful towards the volunteers with a smile, or a nod, and a cup tossed in the direction of where the others are.
I guess what I am saying is, be respectful. Follow the same rules you would on the road. Treat your fellow runners with the same respect you would like to receive. And don’t forget to treat the race volunteers with respect as well. They are out there making sure you finish safely and cleaning up your litter.
What are your race etiquette recommendations?