Monday, June 28, 2010

Race Etiquette

During my half marathon experience last weekend, it occurred to me that it would be good to share my best racing etiquette rules.

Here is my list of racing rules...and if you see something I'm missing? I'd love to have you chime in!

Rule #1: Do not cut in line. You think this should be good common sense no matter what, but I encountered quite a few line cutters last weekend. Get there early and wait your turn. This goes for waiting for any shuttles/transportation, porta-potties, getting water, etc.

Rule #2: If you need to walk, move to the far right. It is a very frustrating experience indeed if you are trying to run and pass a walker in the middle of the road. I've had races where I needed to walk - including last Saturday. That's fine, just move right.

Rule #3: If racing with a friend, be mindful of others that want to pass. For some, running and finishing a race with a friend can be a very positive experience. Just make sure you are doing your best to let runners easily pass you and that you're not blocking half of the roadway.

Rule #4: When taking water from a water stop, move out of the way. All it takes is to have a few people slow or stop in the middle of the road for chaos to ensue. Most water stops are fairly long, so what I like to do is keep running until the very end of the water stop. This way I can get my drink quickly and move on. Again, just pay attention to others around you.

Rule #5: Do NOT throw your garbage in runners' paths! Believe it or not, it is perfectly acceptable to toss your water cup on the ground and keep running. Volunteers are there to keep things swept. However, it is extremely rude to splash your water or throw your garbage in the middle of the road. Runners can easily fall. Even worse, last Saturday I saw a girl spit - and I do mean SPIT on the ground just in front of another runner. Again, MOVE RIGHT.

Rule #6: Be aware of your conversation (if any). If you're going to say anything, make it positive. And don't be annoying. My friend Joan was unfortunately stuck behind a runner telling another runner what was coming up ahead in the course, etc. etc. It was irksome. She also encountered someone that had finished the race and had come back to spectate to tell fellow runners how the rest of their group was already pretty much done, but to keep going. I pretty much don't say much on the course. I did say "go, marathoners!" when the 1/2 and full course split up and I did hollar a bit at mile 11. But that was it. No need to bemoan your pain or suffering to other runners. Keep it to yourself. (Unless, of course, you are in need of medical attention.)

Rule #7: Don't be a snob. I'm not the fastest runner in the world, but I have a few race times I'm pretty pleased with. However, it's important to remember that whether you run the race in an hour or's the same distance for everyone and a huge accomplishment! Remember to celebrate everyone that finishes. This is their race, too.

What else would you add to my list?

Photo credit Harrison Keely

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