It's no secret that race day spectators are the true unsung heroes of race day (OK they're tied with race day volunteers.) When you're busting your ass for a PR or struggling through a not so perfect race day, it's the funny/inspirational signs and the "You've got this!" supportive cheers from strangers that get us to that finish line that feels light years away. It's like Kathrine Switzer once said, "If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon." Are you getting ready to cheer for some friends, family or strangers? Here's how to spectate like a boss-
Step 1 - Make The Perfect Race Day Sign.
I'm a fan of the hilarious race day sign but a heart warming inspirational sign is always a crowd favorite. Ask yourself who you're cheering for? If it's a friend or loved one, go for the gut wrenching "I'm so proud of you" type of signs. Or if you're conflicted, make both! You can cut your poster board in half or write on both sides! (For really picture perfect signs, use bubble letters from a craft store.)
Step 2- Pick the perfect spot.
If you're driving, think of where you can park easily. Otherwise go for about 3/4 of the way through the course or about 300-500 yards from the finish line. Remember, you're giving runners that energy boost when they want to crawl in a ball in die. Take into account the race size. Bigger races will be harder to navigate than smaller ones so try to located spots where you can have room to move around. (Bonus points if you go to multiple spots along the course. Check with your runner to see if they are running for time. If they are, don't expect them to stop more than once.) Always tell your runners where you're going to be and don't stray far from that spot! Pinpoint which side of the street you will be on with "runner's left" or "runner's right". Not only does it give your runner something to look forward to, but a fogged out runner doesn't have to stress about finding you.
Step 3- Scream your face off!
Here aresome of my favorite phrases to yell at runners --
"You're my hero."
"Your mom is so proud of you!"
"so are you!"
"You're so attractive!"
"Look at those quads!"
"You are living your best life!"
"Just think about what you can eat after this!"
"Your new tinder profile picture is gonna be off the hook!"
"You're so fast!"
"(Insert name on shirt here) you got this!"
"I love you!"
"I want to be you when I grow up!"
"You're actually almost done!"
"You got this!"
Step 4 - Make Friends with the people around you.
Talk to the people around you! Not only will you have more fun as a group but you can take candid pictures when your runners run over to you! You'll be grateful you did when you walk away with photos like this --
Step 5 - Cheer for everyone and stay as long as you can.
Don't leave after your speedy runner finishes! Stay as long as you can to get as many people as possible over that finish line smiling as possible! It really does make a world of difference when you cheer on the back of the pack.
Step 6 - Get Ready For Sore Arms.
Holding a sign for hours is an arm workout! No one tells you that! To give your arms a break, change up how you hold the sign. I like to place the sign on my head to give my arms a break.
Even if you don't have a friend or family member running a race, spectating and cheering on runners is a community activity! And there is nothing more inspiring than watching a bunch of people crushing a goal! You will walk away feeling like your faith in humanity has been restored and you just may find yourself finding the urge to start running... Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.