4. Pay attention to the pre-race instructions! Sometimes there are last minute course changes or important announcements. This is not the time to be blasting your favorite song on your iPod!
5. Keep to the right! If you need to stop, walk, stretch or tie your shoe, move over to the side of the course, preferably the right side. It’s ok to stop and walk, just don’t stop in the middle of the road. You could get hurt, someone could hit you from behind etc. Move over to the side when you need to stop. As a general rule, stay to the right except to pass other runners.
6. Don’t take up the whole road! Many of us race for fun but some take it a little bit more seriously. For those that have invested many hours training, give them a clear path to run their best race. If you’re walking a race, keep to the right. Don’t walk (or run!) more than two abreast so others have room to pass.
7. When going through the aid stations you don’t have to grab the first cup. In big races there are lots of volunteers handing out cups, so don’t swerve over to grab the first cup you see; go on a little bit where it’s less crowded. Grab your cup, thank the volunteer and continue to move forward away from the table and the crowd. Don’t block others from accessing the aid tables or the volunteers handing out fluids.
8. After you drink, look around before tossing your cup. It’s usually best to toss it to the side of the road and not just drop it at your feet (and don’t toss it over your shoulder, especially if it’s not empty!) If you see trash cans try to aim for them. If you’re past the garbage then toss the cup to the side so there’s no risk of someone slipping on it. The same goes for any other garbage – gel/fuel wrappers etc. Toss your garbage to the side, or put it in your pocket, so it doesn’t pose a hazard to others.
9. If you have to spit, blow your nose or vomit, move to the side of the road. Bodily functions are a fact of life during a race. It happens. Be courteous.
10. Thank the volunteers. They’re out there just as long as you are (many longer!) but are not getting any glory or endorphin high, so smile and say thank you when you can. Sometimes just a smile or thumbs up can make their day!
11. Finish strong. Once! If a friend or family member is running the last stretch with you and isn’t in the race, he/she should move off the course before the finish chute starts. If you’ve already crossed the finish line and have returned to the course to finish the race with a friend or family member, don’t cross the finish line a second time. Move off the course and allow your friend to have their own moment of glory!
12. At the finish, keep on moving. There are going to be people sprinting in behind you, so grab your medal and keep on walking a little further until you’re out of the crowd. From there you can find a safe, open spot to remove your timing chip, stretch, sit, get some water etc without being run over by other runners or affecting anyone else’s finish.
13. ALWAYS follow the instructions of the race officials along the course, paying close attention at the start and finish of the race.
Everyone wants to have a great race experience, so just remember the golden rule: treat the runners behind you as you’d like to be treated by the runners ahead of you! 🙂