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Normal topics suspended for the A to Z Challenge. It's all books from April 1-30.

If you're here from the A to Z Challenge hoping I'll comment back if you comment first: Sorry to disappoint, but that probably won't happen. I work full-time and I grad school full-time, so I can't give the time to blog commenting that I would like. I'll visit after the end of the semester, I hope.

26 November 2012

Run Right

I ran a Turkey Trot last Thursday, as is my wont, and enjoyed it very much, as is also my wont. However, I noticed once again that many people participate in these fun runs and family-oriented event with no clue how one is supposed to act, line up, or indeed, with no awareness at all of race day etiquette. (For repeat offenders, see Race for the Cure.)

I am here to help you with that.

Now, I in no way want to discourage anyone from gathering family, neighbours, friends, coworkers, random strangers, etc., and doing a holiday race together. There are a lot of nice Jingle Bell 5Ks around this holiday season, if eating chocolate, drinking cocoa, and watching yet another Hallmark Holiday Movie is starting to bring you down. Strap on your walking shoes, grab a coat and the kids, and get out there! No, this list of tips is just to make sure you and everyone around you can all have a fun time and show some basic courtesy to one another.

1. Slower participants start at the back. No exceptions!
This is the grim face of a
crazy person. Do you really
want to be in front of this?
Photo courtesy of the
West Texas Running Club.
This is so important, I'll say it one more time: Fast people get the front of the start area. Slow people get the back. Why? Because the fast people might just trample the slow people in their way, and the slow people will almost certainly frustrate the life out of the fast people. Remember, whatever this race may be for you, others in the crowd will be using it to get a serious workout or try to beat a previous time. Trust me, we are slightly crazy when we're in that mode. You get in front of us at your peril.

If you're walking, go to the back of the crowd at the start, no matter what your friend says about how she started at the front last year and everyone just went around her and it was no big deal. And-- I can't stress this enough-- no matter what time you arrived. Please don't come to the race an hour early so you can be up front, unless your name is Shalane Flanagan.

Not sure if you're a fast runner or not? Here's a good way to find out: If your running friends that you usually train with are at the front, go ahead. In all other circumstances, move back. If your race has signs with your expected pace, LINE UP THERE. Seriously.

2. Please do not form a human wall.
Walking two abreast is fine. Three abreast is sketchy. More than three abreast, and you've become a roadblock. Don't do it! It's great that your family is all walking together as a group, but you need to arrange yourselves so that every other person on the course doesn't have to squeeze through the tiny gap you left them out the side.

On the same note, please be aware of the space between you and other groups on the road. If you are walking three abreast and you happen to fall in step with another group that's also walking three abreast, the same problem ensues. If people are yelling "Excuse me!" a lot or you get brushed by more than one sweaty arm, it's time to re-think your position.

3. Do not, do not, do not stop in the middle of the pack.
Feeling a cramp? Screaming baby in your jogging stroller? Just tired and need to walk? That's fine. Pull over to the side, make sure that no one is directly behind you, and then stop. Alternatively, you can tuck in behind another walker if you just need to take a breather. Whichever one you choose, know that stopping dead in the middle of the road is a recipe for someone running into you. And I promise, no matter what kind of distress your baby is in, there is no universe in which stopping so that runners can knock into the stroller and send you both flying is a better situation. Take a few seconds to get out of the road.

4. Be kind!
Remember, whether it's your first race or your fiftieth, there will be people who don't know about race etiquette and it won't even have occurred to them that they need to look it up before heading out. Reserve your patience for those people, and if you must correct them, do so as kindly as possible. Do your part to make sure everyone has a great race. And be sure to thank all the volunteers and race officials that you see, including the police officers directing traffic!

Do you do fun runs? Do you bring the kids? Which is your favourite?

1 comment:

Jennie Townsend said...

I guess it never occured to me to look up race etiquette but then again capable of using common sense. I could just picture being part of an African stampede and didn't care to have that happen to me. So when I was just beginning I started in the back. But then again Iwent to my first race with you and you may have told me that. I don't remember.

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