I have run my fair share of races. I am by no means a professional, but I have witnessed things that would knock your socks off. So, here are some tips from me, the Professional For Fun Runner!
Race Etiquette 101 As Told By Me
1. Hey, fast runners, or maybe middle of the pack runners, or shoot runners in general, I get it, when you finish there are a plethora of goodies available. Ooh look at all those bagels and bananas and glistening bottles of ice cold water just waiting for your consumption. Just because there are a lot there when YOU finish doesn't mean there will be a lot there when someone finishes ten minutes after you or twenty minutes. Take one and leave some for the back of the pack. You would be blown away by the amount of times I have seen people take three or four bottles of water and a handful of bagels. Come on, now!
2. While I know how much fun it is to run with people you know the best advice I can give you is, when the road is narrow, stop running right next to each other. It seems like a given, right? I told you all how I had a hard time finished the Kona 10K on Saturday. Well, I just got to preview my finish line photos and you can barely see me because of those two ladies and their stopping and holding hands. Seriously, I don't know I even show up because my bib is hardly visible. Way to ruin it, ladies.
3. Say thank you to the volunteers. They got up even earlier than you did and are standing out in the cold or the heat or the rain for no pay! Also, don't get mad at the volunteers. They aren't the ones who screwed up the course, or ran out of supplies. Take those problems up with the racing company!
4. Always check behind you before moving from a run to a walk. I use the Galloway method so I regularly decrease my speed from run to walk. I always take a quick glance over my shoulder before I slow down. If there's someone there I start to slow down to give them time to pass me and then I stop to walk.
5. Spitting is disgusting but sometimes it happens. MOVE TO THE SIDE OF THE COURSE TO SPIT YOU VILE CREATURES YOU! Seriously, there is nothing more repulsive than feeling the warm spray of someone's spit. UGH, just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
6. Yes, you are very fast and going for the Olympic World Record or whatever the hell it is called. Doesn't mean you don't have time to deposit your water cup in the damn trash. And if you don't have time, at least aim for the trash.
7. Line up according to your pace. In bigger races the elite racers start at the front of the pack and there are corrals and much fanfare. In smaller races it is up to the runners to figure out where they should line up. If you are walking you should start at the back. Not the middle of the pack, the back of the pack. I always head towards the back of the pack because I am on the slower side and then am shocked when about a quarter mile in I hit a wall of walkers, like, "Dude, if you started that far in front of me that I am just now catching up to you then you started in the wrong area!"
8. If you are going to listen to music, USE HEADPHONES. I know that sounds like a given, but I passed two different people at my most recent run who were listening to their music on speaker. I think they made me faster because one of them was listening to country and I ran from that like Dracula from sunlight. NOT THE COUNTRY MUSIC! AHHHHH!
9. To go along with number 8, DO NOT WEAR NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES AT A RACE. Shit, don't wear them when you run EVER. You're just asking to get clipped by a car or an ambulance or someone sprinting behind you. Be aware of your surroundings!
10.And for racing companies, HAVE MORE PORT-A-POTTIES! Seriously, you can never have enough of them. Spring for lots of them. Lots and lots of them. And not just at the start. If you have a halfway port-a-potty make sure you have three or four of them because they will get used and there will be lines. TRUST ME.
What would you like to add to my etiquette list? What's your biggest running or racing pet peeve? This is a judgement free zone!