I think that before I ever took my first step in a race, I wanted to make sure that I knew all the ins and outs of race behavior. I didn’t ever want to be the runner who was fumbling and causing problems for fellow runners on the course. I wish that other folks had the same accountability. I also think that some of these not only fit with races, but with running too! By just making a few little changes, everyone can have an enjoyable run/race experience!
Race Etiquette Tip #1
No one wants to wait in line forever to hit the potty before lining up for the start of the race. Nothing makes me more crazy than one or two super long lines in front of 5-8 potties. It seems that it would go quickly that way, but the best option is to make a few shorter lines in front of 3-4 potties. The turnover rate seems to go faster and it’s less likely that anyone might sneak in front of everyone if we’re watching a few potties vs a half dozen.
Race Etiquette Tip #2
There are corrals for a reason. There is a reason race directors want to have your estimated finish time. It’s for safety. There is nothing more frustrating than just starting out and there are clearly people not in the right corrals and you spend half your time weaving and dodging people. It just wears me out. I also am conscious not to line up where I shouldn’t be. In addition to that, treat the course like we’re driving. Passing to the left, slow going on the right. It helps when runners can easily pass by without having to yell out “on your left”.
Race Etiquette Tip #3
If you are planning to take water at the water stop, please make your way slowly towards the stop, paying attention to runners as you cross their paths. Once you grab your water, please stop to see if anyone is right behind you before you stop to drink. Keep walking until you can safely stop (if that’s your choice) or move all the way off the course even. Check to make sure no one is behind you before you start back up to a run.
At the same time, if you are not taking water, please stay to the opposite side of the water stop. Barreling through the water stop and fellow runners is not acceptable. Also, watch when you throw down those half empty cups of water or Gatorade! No one wants to get soaked from a thrown cup. It’s happened to me on more than one occasion.
Race Etiquette #4
Pictures and Spectators
Everyone wants to have some great race pictures! Although mine are usually awful, I do still cheese it up for the camera. The idea of the photo opportunity is keep moving and hope the photographer grabs a good shot! Be conscious of other runners before you throw your hands up or stop for that picture! Same is true for when you see your family or friends along the course. Check to be sure that no other runners are in your path before you make your way to high fave or grab a quick hug from your cheer squad. Cara about got taken out last year in Richmond when the lady in front of us started prancerizing when she saw her hubby. It’s a lot easier to jump out of the way at mile 2 of a marathon, but at mile 20, we weren’t as agile.
Race Etiquette #5
When you roll through the finish line, keep moving! Stopping to make sure you’ve hit your Garmin stop button is going to cause a traffic jam. Also, please don’t be the person who barrels through a group of people at the finish line. I almost got taken out at the end of Flying Pirate last year because two guys decided to sprint downhill like crazy people. Luckily Nathan was running with me and he pulled me out of the way from their nonsense. Two seconds off your time is not worth taking fellow runners out. It’s just not. Walk through the finish line area, collecting your medal, bottle of water and any other goodies that they have.
What are your racing pet peeves? Any suggestions for first time racers?
Look for other bloggers’ racing pet peeves and racing tips over at Tuesday on the Run.
Follow Runner Girl in a Rocking World