Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tips for Spectators

This is a blog I follow, Prior Fat Girl.  If you're planning on coming to my race, please read this.  I never thought much about these things, but Jen's words are so true.  I especially like #3!  The only difference is #5 where she says to just make noise.  That would be distracting to me.  Please don't bring a cowbell and especially don't bring those extremely irritating airhorns!  Other than that, cheer on!


Tips for spectators, from a PriorFatGirl’s point-of-view.

by Jen, a priorfatgirl on October 4, 2011

I thrive on spectators at a race. I know I’m running the race but spectators can change the feel of the entire race. No matter if it is a marathon, half-marathon, 10 mile, 10k or 5k, spectators are treasured. Just your presence is appreciated but here are some additional thoughts from my point of view on spectators:
  1. Your presence is very appreciated: It means a lot. As much as I say “Oh, no worries, don’t worry about it,” it really does mean a lot when you take the time out of your morning to come and cheer for me. No matter how many races I may do, each one, especially each of the long runs are hard. They never get easier, I just get crazier. I won’t ever be mad at someone for not coming but will be overwhelmingly appreciative of those who actually do come.
  2. Scream, cheer, shout, yell and make noise! I think some people are embarrassed to be loud but as a runner, the louder you scream the better. When I run, I am fighting through all the noise in my head so whatever you can do to distract me is appreciated. I need YOU as a spectator to be louder than the noise in my head.
  3. Scream when you see a runner you know: Running is hard. When you see me coming, be LOUD. Yep, it is nice to hear “ohgoodjob” but lemme tell you it is so much more fun to hear “OH HERE SHE COMES, JEN JEN JEN, OVER HERE! WAHOO!!!! KEEP RUNNING, OH MY GOSH YOU ARE DOING IT! WAHOOOOOOOO!!! JEN KEEP RUNNING!!! I LOVE YOU!” No lie. Go all out. Your 30 seconds of screaming will carry me an entire mile. I will float on your cheers, puff my chest out and let your cheers be my fuel.
  4. Cheer for others: Again, running is hard. You don’t have to know me to cheer for me. Cheer for me and let me know how proud you are. Tell me to keep going and remind me I’m running. Tell me I can do it, I will do it, I AM doing it. Cheering for me when don’t know me is like an extra amp. Don’t just stand there staring. First, you look silly just standing there. Second, your cheers are my fuel. I suck it in and turn it into amped up power. It is an adrenaline rush hearing cheers and even more exciting when people I don’t know are cheering for me.
  5. If you just aren’t a cheerer, just make noise! You know those loud annoying cow-bells? DO IT! Cowbells, thunder sticks, hand clappers and stadium horns are very inexpensive but they can annoy some people so pay attention to those around you. If you see people who seem to be disturbed, tell them you are cheering for the runners and to get a life… or maybe just walk 20 feet away from them :)
  6. Bring signs: Use humor. Or be serious. Reading simple signs distracts me and gives me something to do while I’m struggling to fight through all the noise in my head. I may think about a sign for 5-10 minutes so trust me, your sign helps! Here are some sign quotes I love:
    • “Your feet hurt because you are kicking so much butt!”
    • “Your legs will forgive you…eventually.”
    • “Don’t stop — people are watching.
    • “Today, you’re my hero.”
    • “Pain is temporary, pride is forever.”
    • “Remember the reasons you are running.”
    • “If it was easy, everyone would do it.”
    • “One foot in front of the other. That’s all.”
    • “You are no longer training, you are RUNNING THE RACE!”
  7. Be okay if I am distant after the race: I am probably in pain. I am probably ready to collapse. I am thinking about what I just accomplished. I am emotional and coming down from an intense adrenaline rush. I’m covered in an inch of sweat which is layered with the dirt from the wind I just busted through. All I want is a hot shower. And food. And a nap.
  8. I will never be able to thank you with words: There are no words I can, as a runner, say to you, as a spectator, to thank you for coming to cheer me on. Running is hard. It is emotional. It is fighting through all the voices in my head to achieve a goal I set for myself. Having you there means the world to me and there are no words I can use to thank you appropriately. In place of the absence of the perfect thank you, please know your support helped me achieve my goal.
Being a spectator can be such a simple act. It may not feel like a big deal but spectators help more than we as runners can ever describe. We don’t run for your cheers, we run to achieve goals we’ve set for ourselves but your cheers, your support, your presence helps us to achieve our goals.

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