If you're not running, perhaps you know someone who is, or
just want to support the running community.
Get out there and cheer!
The hardest marathons I have run are the ones that have no
spectators, and/or limited support. You have no idea how helpful and appreciated
the support of the crowd is....
How to be a great spectator:
Identify with the runners. What they are doing is difficult. Praise them individually, if you can. Many runners have their names on
their shirts, so call them by name.
Stay positive in your cheering.
Don't say "You're Almost there," if they're not almost there. Don't
say "Its all downhill from here" if its not.
Try and place yourselves on hills or more challenging
parts of the course. These are the places that the runners will need the most
Make distinctive signs and move to different locations throughout
the course. Believe it or not, runners will remember you and it will encourage
them to keep going.
Do something to make runners smile. Laugh, sing, dance or do
tricks such as juggling. It may put the runners at ease for a few moments.
Be as loud as possible and cheer for as long as possible.
Yell, clap, bring whistles, bells, cymbals, drums, or any other noisemaker,
and cheer as a group with other spectators.
Some spectators play music along the course using radios or portable
Hard candy is a God Send later in the course. Gummy
bears will get you a life-long friend.
Nothing too hard to open. No Fireballs. Many runners need Kleenex
during the run.
On a hot day (60+ degrees), set up a sprinkler to lightly spray water near
the runners ... You may think its cool, but 60 degrees at 20 miles isn't.
Other tips to keep in mind:
Prepare for the weather. It may be cool in the morning but warm
up by noon. You want to be sure to be able to stay to cheer on the runners in
the back of the pack as well.
If you see a runner who appears to need some help or medical attention, please
try to remember his or her race number and inform a course monitor or fluid
station volunteer. If the runner's injury looks serious, please try to find
a police officer on the course. Do not try and stop the participants;
many runners will look quite unhappy in the later stages of the race, but wouldn't
want to be hindered in any way.
Do not crowd the runners by standing in the street, especially
in the earlier miles. This may cause a back up for the runners and make the
marathon more difficult.
If a runner does not smile back or talk to you, do not take this personally.
The runner may be deep in concentration, fatigued or in pain. Lack of response
is usually not for lack of appreciation.
Most of the time there is plenty of water on the course at the fluid stations,
but if it is a warm day (60+), a runner may ask for water or to be sprayed down
with a hose
If you're there supporting someone you know, Cheer for the other runners as
well. Someone will be cheering for your guy as well.
Keep in mind that the runners in the back of the pack need the most
encouragement, as they will be out there the longest. Be sure to cheer
for them as well!
If you have to cross the marathon route, cross diagonally
/ (in the direction that the course is run), and not perpendicular
-- (across the path of runners). They are not expecting traffic from their right
or left and will run into you -- or worse -- otherwise.
Updated November 25th, 2003