What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

06 November 2015

Fun Runs: Dos & Don'ts for a Great Race

This weekend is the Race for the Cure in Austin and it's that time for year all over for holiday fun runs, which are awesome. These events are great for runners and non-runners alike to have some fun with family and friends, maybe meet a goal, and mix up the holiday season. However, there is a prescribed etiquette for races, fun or otherwise, and it's not good to ignore it. Here's what you need to know before you head for the start line:

1. Slower participants start at the back. No exceptions!
This was my 52nd race in 8 years. Do
you see where I'm standing? That's
what you should do, too, unless
you're a speed demon.
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 any slow people in their way, and the slow people will almost certainly frustrate the life out of the fast people. Remember, however relaxed and laid-back this event 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 just so you can be up front.

Not sure if you're a fast runner or not? Here's a good way to find out: If your running friends who you usually train with are at the front, go ahead. In all other circumstances, including if you don't train at all, 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 say something, 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. They're out there working hard so you can have a great experience!

And one last thing...
There are some experienced runners who make a big deal out of not wearing the event t-shirt to the event. On the one hand, "nothing new on race day" is a good principle to live by-- when you put on new clothes for the event, you run the risk of chafing since you don't yet know how it will fit/rub/feel after three miles. So that's a good reason not to wear the event shirt. All other reasons people throw out-- well, what you choose to wear is none of anyone's business. I've known experienced runners, people who are age group winners and Boston qualifiers, to wear the race shirt to the race. If that's what you want to do, go right ahead. If other people wearing the event shirt bothers you so much, maybe run faster so you're too tired to care.

Are you running or walking a fun run this holiday season? Where and when?


J E Oneil said...

Wow, you've run a lot of races. I guess you're the person to go to for this info :)

Su Wilcox said...

And I still manage to get exasperated at times!