How To Be An Awesome Race Spectator: Part 2

Hiya there!

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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?

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14 thoughts on “How To Be An Awesome Race Spectator: Part 2

    • I think you might be on to something with that. It was really hard to spot my friend the first time because all of the girls were wearing neon colored tanks so they all looked the same from far away!

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  1. Best race sign I ever saw was a guy (assuming a significant other) holding a sign that said “Julie I love you, but you’re 26.2 miles of CRAZY” I thought it was awesome haha

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  2. Great tips! The last time I was spectating I missed the person I was looking for so I think sending her a picture of the sign in advance would have helped. And the clapping was painful, so I need to find a cowbell before the next time.

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  3. It may be extreme, but in my experience it’s easiest when the spectator and the runner preview the course together (maybe the night before or days before the event) and designated a specific spot for meeting. I always do that when my husband is coming to cheer with the kids. If he’s not able to come the day before. He sends me a screenshot of his GPS position so I know exactly where he’s standing. But then I have to check my phone, so that may be an inconvenience for some.
    I like your tip about sending picture of the sign. That’s smart!

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    • That’s a really good idea! It would definitely be helpful to scope out a place before hand to alleviate some of the hectic-ness that is race morning. The only problem is that sometimes the road closures don’t allow you to get to where you’re trying to go!

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  4. Great tips Tricia! I’ve been a spectator only once and it was fun but it seemed so strange to not race. I can’t remember the exact words but there was a sign about an enormous hill ahead and it made me laugh and distracted me enough to get more than half way up the hill before realizing how steep the hill was.

    Have a fantastic weekend!

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    • It really does seem strange not to race! I love good signs like that that can distract me for a little bit and make me laugh. It makes the miles fly by a little easier when you’re struggling!

      Hope you had a great weekend!

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  5. Pingback: Link Love 06.21.15 & HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! | A Couple of Dashes

  6. Great tips! In addition to picking a location, also choose the side of the road (left or right). During NY I turned on my phone when I was close to our designated “cheer spot” and my bf would text his exact location.

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