As race day inches ever so much closer (yay!), it’s time to share some racing etiquette. The goal is to optimize the enjoyment of race day… but not at someone else’s expense. This is all shared in the spirit of love and learning, so let’s be good neighbors and remember… it’s everyone’s Peachtree, not just your own.
Line up in your time group according to the pace you think you will actually run. Faster runners at the front, slower runners and walkers at the back. Nothing is more annoying at the start of a race than having to weave around slower runners after the gun goes off. Granted, it’s the Peachtree and we’ll all be doing some weaving regardless. Just do your part to line up properly and minimize frustrations. Not sure where you should line up? Ask runners nearby their anticipated pace, and if it’s faster than yours, move further back.
Many races (in the U.S.) begin with a rendition of our national anthem. Whether you believe in taking your hat off or putting your hand over your heart or patriotism in general, others around you may take this moment seriously. Cut the chatter to be kind and respectful of those trying to pay their respects… especially on the U.S. celebration of Independence Day.
Water stations can be chaotic – especially at the AJC Peachtree Road Race. When approaching, look around and make sure you’re not cutting off other runners… especially if you’re going to stop or slow down to walk through the water station.
I’ll be blunt – need to spit? It happens to the best of us, but LOOK before you spit, snot rocket, or otherwise expel bodily fluids. Accident or not, it’s rude and downright vile to catch another runner in your splatter.
If you need to pass a slower runner or walker, be sure to get a couple strides ahead before you step in front of another person. Don’t slow down once you’ve moved directly in front of someone either. Cutting off another runner is not only rude, it can cause people to trip, stumble and possibly get hurt.
Not feeling up to par this morning? Grunting, wheezing, groaning, or audibly sharing your discomfort is not looked upon kindly. It detracts from the race experience of other runners. It may be best for you to slow down (or in extreme cases seek help)… just be kind and don’t make the rest of us miserable listening to you.
Don’t immediately stop at the finish line or in the chute. You are not in fact the slowest person, there are people behind you, and they are a’comin full speed ahead!
Take only your fair share of post race refreshments. We’re all hungry and we all love free food after a race… but remember the back of the pack runners will want – and deserve – to eat too.
Last but not least – Don’t run races without a number. Even if you aren’t taking the event seriously, be a good sport, register and pay your fee. Think you’re clever jumping in down the course? Last time I checked cheaters aren’t clever, and no one likes a cheater anyway. With a background in race management, I can attest to the sheer amount of time, effort and money it takes to coordinate a race for a specific amount of runners. You are stealing services by running “bandit-style.”
Looking forward to sharing an enjoyable morning with all of you in just nine days!
Believe deep down in your heart that you’re destined to do great things. -Joe Paterno