Spectator Tips

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I think that any runner can agree that good spectators can make a big difference in your race experience.

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As Scott and I are gearing up to head down to Des Moines this weekend for the half marathon, I did some thinking about key things that I appreciate from spectators during my previous races. . .

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Super cool funny sign –> a good sign can make all the difference. A couple of signs on my first marathon course really helped me. Motivational, funny, true, whatever as long as it gives me something to think about other than my quads. Some of my favorites:

Kleenex –> because my nose always runs and a Kleenex is a nice thing to have.

Gummy Bears <—my favorite food to eat during a race. . .not any other time, except during a half marathon or marathon! During the Des Moines half marathon last year, there was a nice lady about mile 11 handing out gummy bears and I loved her for it.

Sprinkler –> only on a super hot day and make it option. i.e. don’t spray people. . if you have a house on the race course, it might be nice to have a sprinkler running so that people can run through it if they want to, but avoid it if they want to.

Music –> crank. it. up. Smile 

What’s your best spectator tip??

26 Comments

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26 Responses to Spectator Tips

  1. The spectators can really make a race so much more enjoyable! Lately I have been doing more spectating than I have been actually partaking in the race, and I enjoy being on either side. When I was at Grandma’s Marathon this last summer, I made a sign for the marathoners that said, “Where have you been? We’ve been waiting for hours!” A lot of them got a good chuckle out of it.
    Melanie @ BeautifullyNutty recently posted..Vaca Part II: Seattle to CaliforniaMy Profile

  2. Love this post! Spectactors, especially at long/tough races, make a huge difference. I don’t even like beer, but I love that Kenyan sign. So funny! And gummy bears are perfect long race fuel!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..T Minus 5 Weeks and Freaking OutMy Profile

  3. I love funny signs. One of my favorites said, “It’s Fartlek, not fart lick.”
    Loved it! I just really like when people make a lot of noise– clapping, cowbells, cheering, whatever. GOOD LUCK!!
    Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate recently posted..My Favorite Protein BarsMy Profile

  4. I love funny signs!!! They really help you forget the pain for 30 seconds.
    Alex @ Alex Runs For Food recently posted..Treat Yourself Tuesday #3My Profile

  5. Funny signs and cheering for sure!!! After my last race, I appreciated bite-sized candies and orange slices as well. Also, old ladies yelling “sexy beasts” will distract you from the pain if only for a minute 😉
    Becky @ Olives n Wine recently posted..Crockpot Fajita StewMy Profile

  6. I will definitely have to keep these in mind the next time that I am at one of my dad’s half-marathons or marathons. I bet he would definitely like some gummy bears!
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl recently posted..WIAW: October 16, 2013My Profile

  7. I’m spectating my sister’s first half marathon this weekend and I’m making signs! I hadn’t thought about music or the gummy bears though! These are great tips. Thanks Katie!! Also, I want to put a little gift bag together for her and want to know what good post-half things to put in there. Any tips would be awesome! 🙂
    Lindsay @ Lindsay Weighs In recently posted..Why Blogging Friends Are The BestMy Profile

    • KT

      ooohh that is so nice of you!! I would put something salty – like chips (I love fritos after a race), something sweet – chocolate preferably, maybe something for a bath, alcohol (if she drinks), and maybe a magazine to read while recovering from the race? Let me know what you end up putting together!!

  8. Those signs are amazing! My favorites are the Kenyan one and “worst parade ever”. Kleenexes are a good idea too. Can’t wait to hear about how the race goes!
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food recently posted..Going Home!My Profile

  9. Since I’ve never ran a race, I’ve never thought about this perspective before. I’m sure my viewpoint will change after the turkey trot in a few weeks! From now on any race I watch I will bring a funny sign 🙂
    Alisha @ Alisha’s Appetite recently posted..Buffalo Cauliflower and Chicken CasseroleMy Profile

  10. Cheers, those race bells, and signs are my favorite things to see/hear when I’m running 🙂
    p.s. Do you have a recommendation for a restaurant to go to in Mankato after my race on Sunday?!
    Danica @ It’s Progression recently posted..My Reply: Diet and Health DiscussionMy Profile

    • KT

      YES!!! Neighbor’s for Italian. Number 4 for burgers, fish, etc (I think they might have a Sunday brunch?). Both of those are downtown so with the race it might be hard to get to them. Other options would be Boulder Tap House or Axel’s Bonfire. Or there is always Panera. 😉 GOOD LUCK on Sunday! Have lots of fun – can’t wait to hear all about it.

  11. I saw a great sign at a women’s race last year–“If it was easy, your husbands would do it.” Gave them a huge double thumbs up. 🙂

    One huge tip I have for spectators: make sure you know (for SURE) how far from the end you are if you plan on announcing it. I remember this group of ladies yelling “only 3 more miles!! you’re ALMOST THERE!” when I could swear we had 6 to go. Turns out, we were 3 miles from the finish line, but there was a short out and back right before you crossed that they didn’t know about. 🙂
    Kim @ healthy nest recently posted..Why I’m retiring from stay-at-home momhoodMy Profile

    • KT

      Yes!!! #1. I love that sign and #2. You should know exactly how far you are from the finish line. And #3. Only use the words “you’re almost there” if you are within sight of the finish line!!

  12. I love when spectators yell out your name (if it’s on your bib) or your number. It’s so much more inspiring and motivating when they personalize their cheers for you!
    Stephanie @ Pink Sugar Running Shoes recently posted..Coping with an InjuryMy Profile

  13. Gummi bears at races?! Never heard of that before. I’m gonna have to try it 🙂
    Stephanie recently posted..New Fav FindsMy Profile

  14. I love hearing my spectators cheering for me. Gives me a huge boost of confidence and makes me grin from ear to ear.

    I ran a race back in May that was on a fairly cool day, but there was a house on the course that had hung a garden hose over a large tree branch from their yard that hung over the street we were running on. Very cool if you wanted to run under it, but then there was another chucklehead in the same yard with another hose and he was spraying people. I had to run a wide berth around that tool.
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