KLETCO asks: What do you like and dislike from spectators out on a course? Are cowbells good or bad? Do you prefer to have someone waiting with food or gatorade? What tips can you give for people who are just out to watch the race and not participate?
What a timely question this week over at Runners Lounge posed by Kim, especially since I have my first Fall race in only 3 days. I have been continually seeking out smaller and smaller races. The main reason is because in less crowded races I don’t have as many fellow racers to swerve around which completely messes up my pacing and concentration. Another reason is because of the crowds lining the streets. I know they mean well, offering their encouragement to the racers, holding up signs, shouting “great job” and “keep it up”, etc. But what really ticks me off are the spectators at the end of the race, and I’m talking the last mile or two who tell you that “you’re almost there”, “it’s right around the corner” or “only one more mile”. One more mile? At the end of a race that can feel like an eternity! I know I’m being ridiculous. It’s just that I’ve learned that I really like the solitude of smaller races. At the end of the race I am totally in my head, I don’t need people yelling at me, messing with my concentration. But, you have to roll with the punches, as I say. If I am going to race I have to expect crowds cheering on the sidelines, more often than not.
A second pet peeve I have against spectators is how they stand along the course. Sometimes they crowd the course, lean in, even stand on the course. This can cause problems especially when a racer is trying to pass another racer. I have learned that in bigger races I need to run right down the middle of the streets, not on the edges. It’s a matter of safety.
Cowbells? Surprisingly, to myself and perhaps to you as well, I don’t have a problem with them. Weird, huh? It is definitely not as annoying as hearing “one more mile to go”.
Preferences about someone waiting with food or gatorade. Well, I’m not sure exactly what this question is asking. All of the races I’ve run always have some sort of post-race food/beverage table. At the very least I expect some water and maybe bananas or oranges.
As for tips for spectators, I guess I would just remind them to stay clear of the course.