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Spring Spectating Snafus

Spring has finally arrived, which means race season is upon us! Even if you’re not a runner yourself, you can be a part of the excitement by cheering on your favorite runners at your local races. Spectating is a lot of fun, but don’t be fooled – it isn’t all fun and games. You’ve got to get up early, coordinate with your runner(s), and stand outside (sometimes for hours!) waiting for them to come by. So if you’re going to go through all that work, you want to make sure you do the best job possible, right?

St Pat's Finish Line

I’m sure by now you’ve heard all sorts of advice about how to be a great spectator:

  • Tell your runner where you’ll be standing on the course so they know where to find you
  • Cheer and clap loudly (for everyone, not just the one or two people you know who are running)
  • Bring fun signs
  • Shout encouraging things like, “Looking great!” “Awesome job!” or “Go ______!”

But what about any spectating faux pas?? Next time you head to the sidelines, here are a few things you should probably avoid:

St Pat's start


1.) Don’t see your runner off by telling her that you’re just going to head out for coffee and a warm breakfast while she’s running. Chances are she won’t take this news well.


2.) Don’t wear shoes without socks when you plan to stand outside and cheer on a windy, 40 degree day. They may look cute, but spectating is all about comfort, not fashion. And when a 3 year old comes up to you and asks, “Why are you wearing those shoes??” you know you’ve made a bad choice.


3.) Don’t forget to actually put your memory card in your camera before you head to the race – that internal memory doesn’t hold many pictures.

4.) Don’t use up what little storage space you have on said camera by taking pictures of the puppies you see on the sidelines.

pup collage.jpg

5.) Don’t get so distracted playing with those puppies that you miss your runner coming by.

St Pat Evan.jpg

6.) After the race, don’t comment on how tired a runner looks, how sluggish they appeared on the course, or how crazy you think their race outfit is.


7.) Don’t suggest going out to lunch after the race and then make the runner pay for it….even if it is a date.


8.) And finally, don’t embarrass your runner by taking pictures of them stuffing their face during lunch. They worked hard after all, and they’ve got to replenish those calories!

DSCN2012.JPGSorry Becky... ;)

Regardless of what goes right or wrong, the most important thing is that you’re out there, cheering for your runner. So be a part of this race season and get out there and cheer! Your runner will appreciate it more than you know.

20 Responses to Spring Spectating Snafus

  1. Is that Garden Grille? I haven’t eaten there in ages. Definitely making it a point to go back before the Summer.

  2. I bet you’re really sorry ;) Good thing embarrassing photos are my specialty…and revenge is sweet! Haha.

    I must thank you for the plethora of puppy pictures. After a tough race, puppies are all I can think of!

    And even with a few snafus, you were a pretty great spectator! Thanks for being there yesterday.
    Becky´s last post ..St Pat’s 5K – A Race Recap

  3. Hahah this is hilarious – I love that first picture of Becky. Her face just says it all. Being a good spectator is hard work! I would totally get distracted by puppies too. Last year after Boston, Ben complained about how tired he was from all the walking he did and all the runners he had to watch to look for me…I advised him to, in the future, NOT say that to someone who has just run a marathon ;)

  4. Haha, I would have taken a bunch of puppy photos too.

    You’re right that it means a lot to the runner. My husband got up at 5am with me this morning and stood outside for my half marathon today and then had to go to work directly after until 11pm tonight. It really meant the world to me that he did that.
    Lee´s last post ..Random Sht in My Backyard

  5. I love this. I saw runners braving the torrential rain for the LA marathon today…and I am not going to lie, I was a little envious but really happy not to be drenched the whole time in that race. Being a good cheerer is definitely an important part of being a runner!
    claire´s last post ..hello 25

  6. this is an excellent post! I can’t tell you how man friends I missed seeing during the NYC marathon because I didn’t know exactly where they were, and couldn’t pick them out in the huge crowds. Big, colorful signs help too! Spectators make races even more awesome :)
    Kelly´s last post ..Race Envy

  7. What a cute post. I enjoy spectating at times too finding it extremely inspirational. It was so great to see you, thanks again for coming to cheer us on!

  8. hhahaha tooo funny. love it lauren. i love spectating… I did the same today at the southie 5k : )
    Lizzy´s last post ..Twenty Miles &amp Chocolate!

  9. Hahaha! Too cute! Enjoyed reading this. Super cute picture of the Boxer, by the way!
    Rach´s last post ..Oh- where is my hair brush!

  10. Hahaha this post is amazing. Thanks for the Monday morning laugh.

  11. Haha, I needed this. Must print it and bring with me for Saturday when I see all you guys kill the National :) Hope to see you there by the way!
    Brittney´s last post ..Fun Times!

  12. This is SUCH a funny post. I was a horrible spectator yesterday at the NYC Half. I knew I was going to hop in at mile 8 so I couldn’t bundle up too much. It made for a very cold hour of spectating in the meantime. I was so happy to start running so that I could warm up!

    I still feel so, so guilty that I didn’t scream my brains out on the sideline like I normally do. I had to save my energy for the running!

    Congrats to Becky, and um is that your boyfriend? Lucky girl!
    Kate (Embarrassment of Riches)´s last post ..What Im Giving Up For Lent

  13. One other thing, NEVER, EVER shout, “Pick up the pace! You are ALMOST there! You only have ________ more miles to go!” This is especially important to remember when you are a spectator at a marathon. Your running friend or family member will NOT appreciate hearing that from ANYONE standing on the sidelines sipping a latte or sitting in a lawn chair!

  14. love this!

    i would add: don’t stand on the sidelines drinking mimosas and eating donuts when your runner goes by. Or, at least put down the mimosas and donuts so you can clap for them.
    Emily´s last post ..When the Going Gets Tough

  15. Thanks for the timely tip. I will take all this into account on Saturday watching my very favorite runner go. I am just learning this spectating stuff and it seems like when I was a runner, there was not so many rules. Oh well, I guess I’ll just watch the other spectators and follow their lead.
    Maybe I can try some of my favorite spectator tips:
    - “Oh, well yeah, I would be running, but see I’m hurt. I’ve run marathons before ya know”. (That’s me talking to other spectators wearing by spandex and running shoes.)
    - My all time favorite spectator comment “Hey you look great at mile one. Only 25 more miles to go”. Man, I remember that guy too. Boy, he sure fell like a ton of bricks after I ran over and punched him.
    Run great on Saturday and wear something funky. I’ll say all the appropriate things just for you.

  16. This is so funny! I might have a chance to be a spectator soon so I will make sure that I make note of these tips.

  17. Hahaha I love this post!! My dad once suggested that he could go get breakfast while I was running and still be back in time to cheer me on…the nerve of him!! (He was also totally kidding…ha.)

    I love that all green race outfit…I was going to ask where the shorts are from!
    Susan´s last post ..St Patrick’s Day in NYC

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