Back in October, I posted some tips on how to be an awesome race spectator. After cheering for my friend, Jenica, at the Rock and Roll Half Marathon over the weekend, I came up with some additional tips that I wanted to share with all of you! So, let’s get into it!
1. Wear comfortable shoes.
Since most races close down a lot of local roads and freeway exit ramps, you never know how far away you’re going to have to park and travel on foot to where you need to go. Comfy shoes will definitely come in handy!
Learn from my mistakes. This is a picture from the last time I went to cheer for a friend. Now check out those shoes. It did not end well.
2. Pick a designated location on the course to cheer from.
This way your runner will have something to look forward to when they start to struggle and also they will know approximately when they should start looking for you. I recommend looking at the course elevation map and look for a part on the course that looks difficult. Maybe there’s an especially daunting hill or part on the course that is consistently gaining in elevation. These points are all places where your runner could use an extra little confidence boost and some encouragement.
3. Send your friend a picture of your sign before the race. It will help them see you.
When I was cheering for my friend at the Rock and Roll Half last weekend, I sent her a picture of my sign the morning of the race. I may have missed her since I didn’t know what she was wearing but she spotted me by my sign!
4. Know what your runners’ outfit looks like.
This one is pretty self explanatory and goes right along with #3. Knowing what your runner is wearing is helpful when trying to spot them in the crowd.
5. Bring a cowbell.
I love cheering everyone on, but I get tired of clapping REALLY quickly. Cowbells have the same effect but are much easier on your hands! Also, you can hold your sign AND use a cowbell at the same time, something you can’t do when clapping. SCORE!
6. Bring a snack and a bottle of water for yourself.
I ALWAYS wait until the last minute to get out of bed and race weekend is no different. Since I usually skip breakfast in exchange for few extra minutes in bed, I always make sure to pack a snack bar to eat on the way.
And depending on the amount of walking or running around that you may be doing to get from point A to point B, having some water on hand can come in handy.
7. Pack a portable charger, if you have one.
This may seem a little extreme, but better safe than sorry. I already had a portable charger for other reasons, so I brought it along just in case.
In between using GPS to navigate around from one point to another, taking pictures and normal phone use, you may find your battery running low pretty quickly. There’s nothing worse than not being able to connect with your runner at the finish line or navigate your way home because your phone is dead. Trust me on this one. I’ve been stuck in this situation (not at a race) a few times, so I normally always have a portable charger on me now, just in case.
8. Take pictures.
I know, I know. Most courses have photographers located at various points along the course for commemorative photos. Those can be expensive, unflattering or even worse, they may not capture your runner at all. That’s why it’s better to have more options to choose from.
Sometimes your runner may pop up when you’re not expecting them or the crowd may be to thick to actually capture good photos, but it’s always nice to get one or two if you can!
Question of the Day:
What are some of your favorite spectating tips and tricks?
What’s the funniest race sign you’ve seen during a race?