Race Etiquette

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

22 comments Add your comment


June 25th, 2010
7:22 am

All good advise. I especially like the term “snot rocket”. Gotta remember that one! Regarding cheaters, I think runners would be surprised to know that their entry fee usually only partially covers the race costs per participant. The rest is made up with funds from sponsors. This is especially true with smaller events where police and emergency personnel are still required but don’t have the draw like a Peachtree.

The only thing I might add is to please take a shower BEFORE to come to the start and how about putting on just a tad bit of smell good stuff. It’s gonna be hot and we’re all gonna stink after the race but we’ll all be standing around like cattle for just as long before the race. Smell good stuff in lieu of a shower doesn’t count!

One last thing, if you stayed out late the night before and feel sick during the race please rememebr that no one want to run through your last night’s pasta dinner.

Gen Neyland

June 25th, 2010
7:43 am

The Peachtree T-shirt for the majority of runners is viewed as their individual Blue Ribbon, first place in an age/time group of one. They trained to the best of their ability, put in the hours, suffering the rain and heat, squeezing in time on the road to make the complete 6.2 trek down Peachtree. Not to mention the hours it takes to get to Lennox and wait for their turn to run the route..! Ahhh, but the Course Jumper, for whatever reason, takes the easy path to Piedmont Park. Where is the pride that comes with a sense of accomplishment in beating the system for the Course Jumper..? Two words : Cheating losers. Is that too harsh..?

On etiquitte : For some, it’s difficult not to impede the flow of traffic on Cardiac Hill. Flat course runners that find hating hill work has it’s price. To those, please hang to the right. We old, fat sloggers that want to huff and puff our way up the hill will appreciate it.


June 25th, 2010
8:51 am

Good advice about looking before launching a snot rocket. Just to be safe, it’s a good idea to yell “incoming” before a launch.


June 25th, 2010
9:27 am

Anyone running with me in group C is welcome to ignore bigdogears’ advice re “smell good stuff.” The last thing I want to smell when running in 80 degree temps is strong perfume! BO is inevitable during a long, hot, crowded race.


June 25th, 2010
10:05 am

You forgot the biggest issue. WALKERS MOVE TO THE RIGHT. I am not sure why people enter the race and then walk to begin with, but if you must walk, MOVE OVER TO THE RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THE ROAD. Walking down the center of the street is the most inconsiderate thing you can do.


June 25th, 2010
10:15 am

I’d like to add (and the Peachtree Road Race magazine stresses this as well): while actually on the course, ALL WALKERS STAY TO THE RIGHT OF THE STREET/COURSE!! It’s just like street traffic: slower participants on the right side of the road. Runners will be zipping by on the left side.


June 25th, 2010
10:18 am

all good advice. you left out a couple – please don’t run in groups with more than 3 people side by side. it makes it very difficult for others to pass you. and look where you’re going if you insist on trying to catch the shirts thrown/shot out to the crowd during the race. running over someone to grab a cheap t-shirt is not cool.

Van Jones

June 25th, 2010
11:19 am

Amen on the shower, slower runners keep right, course jumpers, and walking (or sorta running) two abreast. Also, this is not the course for a personal best time so please constantly gravitate as far to the right as your speed allows. Umpteen thousand other runners thank you!

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June 25th, 2010
2:46 pm

Annette: I consider soap “smell good stuff”, don’t you? Perfume is, as my sainted mother used to say, “stinkums”.


June 25th, 2010
3:52 pm

Last year I was in time group 3, and I saw the extent of the cheaters – people were walking by me with numbers in groups 8 and 9, and they hadn’t even left yet!

They should put a device in the timer tags – if you’re south of Piedmont Road when your time group starts, your shoes explode.


June 28th, 2010
12:59 pm

I do the PTRR with my mother every year. we PAY our dues….the true “prize” is and always for us be, the famed t-shirt. Do we line up with our groups? Nope. Do we usually start early and begin the walk down Peachtree. You bet. But we start at the start line (if not before that) and have never once been one to hop Marta and jump down and “finish” the last half of the race. We walk, yes, but our dues are paid…it’s annoying to hear people yelling comments to “Not participate in the PTRR if you’re not running”…there’s a lot more for people to worry about. Can’t wait for another exciting year!

Run Like A Mother

July 1st, 2010
8:08 am

This being my third peachtree that I have run and I think everyone has left off the most important part. If you find that your pace was too fast and you need to walk PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT STOP AND JUST START WALKING!!!! Drop to a safe jog and move to the right. Running full speed and then stopping is just like someone accelerating in their automobile and then slamming on the brakes. You will cause an accident and it is in fact very dangerous. Last year my husband nearly knocked out a tooth after some inexperienced “runner” pulled this. This is not your local 5k where you can pull that stunt.


July 2nd, 2010
9:17 am

I am looking forward to my 3rd Peachtree and while I am further back this year, I will enjoy my race. I did not realize how many people cheat – it is amazing to me that you think this is ok and what is the purpose. A girl I know had her brother, fast runner, register and gave the number to her boyfriend who is a slow runner and just started running a couple of months ago. He is in Group B – I am in Group F – it does annoy me but I have to let it go that some think cheating is ok and do what I know is the right thing to do. What do these people gain?

Have a great run.


July 2nd, 2010
9:39 am

This is the first running of the Peachtree for the entire crew at Project 9-6-1. Shaffee, Jefe, Aly, Swan and I will be running/walking while broadcasting live on the air Sunday morning from 8am-12noon! I can’t wait to earn my very first Peachtree Road Race t-shirt!

3p-7p weekdays
Project 9-6-1


July 2nd, 2010
9:42 am

I agree with all of the suggestions. I bet the offenders don’t read this or think that this applies to them. Peachtree would be a much better experience if these were followed.

This will be my ninth Peachtree. It was supposed to be my fastest. I was on track to get a 7-something minute mile when I got a stress fracture in my left ankle three weeks ago. Instead, I will be starting at the rear of my time group and wobbling down the right side of the road towards my t-shirt. I’ll get my time from a race later in the year and be ready for next year’s P’tree. Happy 4th of July. Let’s have a great day!


July 2nd, 2010
10:42 am

Last year was my first Peachtree. I learned a very valuable lesson — if you see Moe’s throwing t-shirts into the crowd, run the opposite direction! A runner came to a dead stop in front of me to try and catch a t-shirt and almost caused me to eat pavement. I was very ticked! It is very dangerous for Moe’s to be throwing stuff into the crowd of runners!


July 2nd, 2010
10:44 am

Just curious as to what the purpose was with the time tags last year if they didn’t really seem to count towards this year…I ran my best time ever last year – my 6th year running in under and hour and I got stuck in the 60’s this year starting in the back in the HEAT…I must admit I am a little upset…I entered my time from last year when I signed up and I assume that finishing in under and hour is better than being placed in the 60’s…sigh…oh well – Happy 4th I am still excited about my 7the PTRR!!

Lauren Dieterich

July 2nd, 2010
11:01 am

An – the timing chips recorded a time – searchable on the internet, and available for bragging rights. They did not automatically use those times for this year’s seeding. When you signed up, you had to note on the form a race and finish time to use for seeding. This is helpful because for instance… I run faster at other 10ks than I do at Peachtree, so I didn’t want them to use my PRR time… I chose to submit a time from another 2009 10k.

Also… note the different start wave method this year – IGNORE your numbers – you are assigned a start wave by the LETTER at the beginning. Time groups are not noted by numbers this year, but letters.

Hope you have a great race!


July 2nd, 2010
11:07 am

Thanks Lauren – makes sense…so I guess they do not allow the PRR time to be used as a qualifying time? seems a little crazy – cause I did enter that time when I signed up…so I guess I was thinking that would have helped me get a little sooner start…I am starting in the T wave…still a late start – 8:46 to be exact :( I entered a 10k qualifying time a few years back and got in the 3’s so was very excited…just a little bummed by such a late start, but it actually looks like it won’t be AS hot as it has been lately :) You have a great and safe run also! and thanks again :)

Lauren Dieterich

July 2nd, 2010
11:16 am

An – they do allow the PRR times to be used as qualifiers. Sounds like you experienced a glitch in the system? That is a TOTAL bummer. My boyfriend submitted a time good enough for B, and was given G. We called and they allowed us to come switch it out. Not sure if you can still do that this late in the game, but perhaps you could try?

I think with the changes this year, and always with such a large group, there are unfortunate glitches/growing pains. But the ATC still does a heckuva job putting on an awesome race – the world’s largest 10k!


July 3rd, 2010
10:36 am

The etiquette to not run the race w/o a number is obvious — but what about walking it? Toward the end? I tried to get a number for walking the tail end w/o success. Is it o.k. to jump in on the back?