DUDE, THAT'S RUDE: Race Day Etiquette (Runners Edition)
The greatest part of running a race is knowing that anyone can do it. You can be among the elite, the celebs, the disabled, the very young, the very old, and the very average. You are all running the same race, on the same day, and under the same conditions.
That said, because of the large scope of athletes, it's essential to learn a few basic rules so we can all co-exist in the same race. Here are my top 10 major pet-peeves on race day:
1. Do NOT cut off another runner only to slow your pace as soon as you get in front of them. You know who you are. You're probably the same person who does this in your car. I can't tell you how many times this happens. It never fails that once you get a nice, steady pace going, someone suddenly comes out of nowhere, cuts right in front of you and immediately slows down, nearly causing a collision. DUDE, THAT'S RUDE. If you're going to pass someone, you better be faster.
2. Aim your spit. There's nothing worse than getting spit backlash from a runner in front of you. Come on. DUDE, THAT'S RUDE. Everyone spits. Just aim it downward in a slight diagonal direction to avoid hitting anyone.
3. Getting water at water stations. For new runners, this is challenging. If you need to get water, first look ahead so you know when it's coming. Then, (without cutting anyone off) start making your way to the side of the road where the volunteers are. Hold out your arm to motion that you want a drink. Do NOT cut anyone off. Usually, the volunteers will be shouting "water" or "Gatorade." Shout "water" or "Gatorade" back while holding out your arm so everyone knows what you want. Continue to hold your arm out, grab your drink, then immediately make your way back to the middle of the road (without cutting anyone off). Take a drink, then toss your cup to the side once the coast is clear.
4. Passing on water stations. If you do NOT want water, please stay in the middle of the lane, away from the runners who DO want a drink. (Click 'Page 2' below to continue)
5. Respect the corrals. They are there for a reason. Don't sneak up to a higher level if you don't belong there. You're only asking to be run over.
6. If you take off any article of clothing during a race, PLEASE toss it AWAY from the main path. I can't tell you how many times I've seen runners trip over clothing that was thrown directly in the middle of the road.
7. Never run more than 2 people next to each other. Argh. This isn't "Red Rover," it's a race. If you have more than one other training partner, have the third person run behind or in front of you. DON'T form a long horizontal line of runners and block other people from passing your group. DUDE, THAT'S RUDE.
8. If you need to stop suddenly because of injury or otherwise, get yourself to the side of the road first. NEVER EVER stop suddenly in the middle of the road. You're only asking for a collision.
9. Get those things out of your ears. HUGE pet-peeve. Race day is a time to enjoy, celebrate, and appreciate. There are so many supporters, including tons of bands who came out in your honor. Get those things out of your ears and pay attention to your surroundings.
10. Show appreciation. Nothing's worse than when the race event coordinators organize a huge run, volunteers come out by the hundreds, bands are playing, cops are in place at every intersection, and countless friends, family and spectators come out to cheer YOU on... only to have it go unnoticed. Lift up your hand to wave "thanks," high five the little 8-year-old who stands there holding a sign for hours, and just some some simple respect.
So, that's my top 10 list of Race Day Etiquette, Runners Edition. Stay tuned for my next installment of the Spectators Edition. Until then... respect the run and happy racing!