This weekend is the Austin Marathon and I am SO excited to spectate a marathon! I haven’t done it for a really long time and it is just so exciting. I feel like it is super inspirational! Even if you claim to hate running (we can change that…), I think it’s easy to fall in love with the sport on marathon day.
Plus my good friend Casey is tackling her first U.S. marathon (yeah she ran one in South Korea… #jealous!).
In honor of the Austin Marathon, my tips for cheering at a race:
1. Bring a sign. Even if you aren’t cheering for anyone in particular, signs are AWESOME and will make so many runners smile. There are so many awesome things that you can write on a sign, but one of my favorites is the guy in Boston who wrote “Will you marry me?” and fake proposed to every female runner — it was so awesome to see and definitely made me smile. 🙂
You don’t even have to be that creative! Just “Go runners!” or “You are awesome!” are spectacular.
2. Cheering for someone special? Check in with them for what they want. I feel like when it comes to being race day (especially marathon day!), you have the right to act like a spoiled prince(ss). That being said, if you are cheering someone on, ask them what they want. I personally would rather see people at mile 22 or 23 instead of at the finish line, and tell my people what to yell at me at different points of the course.
3. Yell at everyone. This is one of the only times in your life that it is perfectly acceptable to scream at strangers. Shout out bib numbers, say t-shirt colors — even names if you can see them! One of the reasons why I will likely never run a Chicago Marathon again is because I felt like I was running in a glass tube — there were tons of spectators but nobody was cheering or saying anything!
Even if the runner going by you doesn’t blink an eye or acknowledge you, they most likely heard you and you probably made their heart soar.
4. Give yourself plenty of time to travel from spot to spot. If you are cheering on someone in particular, make sure you allocate enough time in between spots.
Traffic can get crazy, or you may have to take awhile to park.
Prepare for the inevitable and try to show up at least 15-20 minutes early from when you expect the runner. In longer races like marathons, most races will have apps that track the runner so it gives you an idea of when you can expect them and their average pace.
5. NEVER say “you’re almost there.” Of course, there is always that person (usually a
dorky super cool 16 year old boy) that yells “you’re almost there” at mile 2. Ha, ha. But honestly, there will be people cheering at mile 22… 23… who are screaming those forbidden words. Unless you are at mile 26.1, there is no “almost there.” Instead, yell “you look so good!” This always makes me feel a little better, even if I feel like that dog doo doo on the bottom of your shoe.
6. If meeting at the finish line —> be prepared for any emotion. I tend to cry after a race like a marathon, even when I am happy and ecstatic with how I did.
There have been races where I’ve flopped and finished with a smile on my face, but my family expects to see me broken at the finish. There are others where I do my best, and still end up in tears.
If you are meeting someone at the finish line, just be prepared to tackle any emotion that comes your way. In addition to that, your runner may be a little delirious from giving it their all, so bring your “I know exactly what you are talking about” smile.
What’s your favorite race distance to spectate? What’s the best sign you’ve seen?
Any tips for race cheer squads?
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