I realize that there are certain rules and regulations that are set for running in any road race. These rules can be anywhere from staying on the course, having your race bib visible and fastened to your shirt, clear plastic bags for gear check, to even a no animals policy. Most of these, if not more, are common sense rules which have to be stated by the event coordinators. There are a couple other common sense “rules” that some runners seem to think they don’t have to abide by. Even though it’s not stated by any coordinators, it’s more of a common courtesy. This lead me to Part 2 of runners etiquette, racing.
1. Run it, to earn it
Just about every race I’ve participated in there has always been a group of people who wear the race shirt they’ve received from the expo on the day of the race. It’s great that you want to show people you are running in this race. Who wouldn’t want to do that? It’s a sense of pride when you wear the race shirt…. only problem, you didn’t even run the race yet. I feel like this is something that has to be earned. Imagine getting your finisher’s medal before finishing the race. Doesn’t seem fair to get that achievement before the event even began. You would have nothing to look forward to at the end of the race. If the race you were participating in was themed like Halloween or even a cancer awareness event, then yes wear that gear with pride. If you are wearing a shirt for a large event like a major city marathon, it’s probably a good idea to hold off on wearing that shirt until after you have finished. Running a marathon is an achievement in itself, so don’t you think it would be great to show off that you ran it and finished it after the race?
2. You’re doing it all wrong
Running is a sport that moves forward towards a finish line. We all move at various speeds and run differently which makes us all unique. What tends to bother me is seeing someone running backwards during a race. What if you trip over your own feet or run into something when you’re not looking? We get it, you are soo good at running that you have to show off by running backwards. If this were true, shouldn’t you be up front with the elite group? It may be a good idea to reserve running backwards for practice, not for racing.
3. Road blocks… again!
I’m noting this one again because it always becomes an issue, especially during races. Some runners want to stick together during races, which is excellent. You have each other to push through the pain or take your mind off of the race. When runners decide to walk or run more than 2 abreast (side by side) it creates a small road block for others. Another form of “road blocking” is stopping right in the middle of the course to walk or stretch. If you were to do this manuever while driving, someone would drive right into you. The scenario is the same in running a race. It’s always a good idea to pull over to the side before stopping. Share the course and be courteous to fellow runners.
4. Clogged Lines
Most road races have fluid stations with water or Gatorade. This can be very helpful during races in order to stay hydrated. There always tends to be a lingering problem with these stations. The fluid stations are meant to be an “in and out” process, very simple. Some runners tend to stop, grab a water and stand around in the line. Probably not the best idea as runners are trying to grab a drink and go. It’s not always the runners that are the issue at the water stations. I know it’s difficult to handle the large numbers of runners that pass through the stations, but still it’s best to grab and go.
5. “Good Job!”
Everyone is not out to run road races to win. Some are running for personal reasons or just for fun. It’s always great to see so many people out for the same event. I always tend to cheer people on while running as if I were on the sidelines. I could be out of breath from pushing the pace a little, but I still try to cheer them on. Even at the end of the race saying “good job!” makes a big difference to some runners because this kind of support helps.