Just as your runner trained and prepared for their race, so should you. Here are some tips that will make the most use of your time as you wait for your runner to pass by:
Preparing for the Big Day:
- To start, check out the race’s website for their guide for spectators. Since the course may change year to year, roads close off and other issues that occur along 26.2 miles. This page should provide the latest info to any adjustments. Most race sites will include the best spots to watch your runner.
- Start to check out the race’s website for their guide for spectators. Since the course may change year to year, roads close off and other issues that occur along 26.2 miles. This page should provide the latest info to any adjustments. Most race sites will include the best spots to watch your runner.
- Know how fast your runner runs. Have them give you an estimate of their pace, and even write out the times they estimate to be at each mile marker.
- Plan for the side of the road the runner will be on during that mile marker. Sometimes, you’re on the wrong side of the road, and you will miss your runner.
- Know what your runner will be wearing
- Some races now have apps for your smart phone that will give you updates to the major markers of the race, such as the times at the Start Line, 5k, 10k, 15k, 13.1 mile, 20k, 30k, 40k, and of course the Finish Line.
- Make your poster board signs big, bright and legible. Usually at the Race Expo, there is a station to make signs. Use words of encouragement. Names help distinguish your runner as special. I always love “Go, Dad, Go!”
- Cow Bell, everyone has a fever for more Cow Bell! Clang, Clang, Clang!
- Set your alarm clock that will allow you to get ready and arrive at your spot with plenty of time to cheer on all the runners.
- Bring water and snacks with you, just in case there are no stores around to purchase a beverage.
- If your runner requests that you bring their special formula or a bottle of Coca Cola, remember to bring it.
- Scope out the bathrooms and port-o-potties on the course map, just in case you don’t want to be part of nature.
- With bigger races you may need to fight to the sidelines and smaller races usually you can get close to the action without offending anyone.
- Dress appropriately, since it may snow, rain, be too hot, or too cold.
- Let the runner know what you will be wearing, make it loud and bright also.
- Get ready to applaud.
- Even cheer on the runners that you don’t know. Look for any names on their shirts and yell them out. Way to go! John or Looking good! Sally. They need support also.
- If your child plans to run with the runner to the finish line, make sure they are ready for the last 100 yards.
Most importantly enjoy yourself for the 4 to 5 hours. Know that you are an integral part of your runner’s team. Having the support and love is the only thing that gets a runner through a marathon. Keep up the great work, and see you on the course! Maybe next year we will be cheering you on as a runner!
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