I recently ran a half marathon in a city in upstate NY. It was a lovely race with good support, particularly from the local Police Department
and the race crew. Generally when I have run races, the local community has been wonderful; but there is always an incident or two that gets me thinking about what could be better. So, I asked some running friends what they loved and didn’t love about running races in a city.
Here are some tips from your friendly area runners…
- know when the race is and what streets will be closed when. It is usually pretty well publicized
- map out a way to cheer at multiple points, it keeps things interesting for everyone.
- more cowbell, noisemakers, be loud, be funny (runners love to laugh)
- be original (play music, play instruments, dance, costumes, high fives from kids)
- volunteer, or at least be supportive.
- keep track of where your elite runner is place wise, especially if they have a goal.
- call out names, or even bib numbers. Make it personal-you never know how much it means.
- make funny posters, Google has some great ideas.
- stick around and cheer on the runners at the back of the pack, they need the most encouragement, since they've been pushing themselves for a much longer time
- ask your runner friends and family what they would like in terms of support.
- consider jumping in a running a block or two with a runner you know, especially toward the end when they’re tired and need the motivation to finish.
- get mad at runners or volunteers for blocking streets. The road marshals are trying to keep the runners safe.
- cut in front of runners, even slow ones, especially near the finish line. It’s not an obstacle course race (unless it is)
- smoke in places where the athletes will breathe it in.
- take food/drinks intended for runners.
- say “you’re almost there” unless the finish line is in sight. Most runners push at the end and don’t want to burn out
- yell “Run, Forrest, run” (or any other cliché for that matter, be original!)
Above all, please remember that races will happen and runners love your support (and participation!) Don’t be afraid to encourage the runners in your life and give us a cheer when we run by.