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Spectating a race is just as important as racing

The start of the inaugural 13.1 Marathon in Santa Monica on January 10, 2010
The start of the inaugural 13.1 Marathon in Santa Monica on January 10, 2010
Rich Cruse

This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Santa Monica for the inaugural 13.1 Marathon. I wasn’t running this race, but I was going to be a spectator there. This race is a flat, fast, out and back course and had numerous spots to cheer for the runners. One thing that was missing from the race was the crowd support. Many times during races I see people standing on the side of the road awaiting their friend to pass by. Nothing comes out of their mouth before seeing their friend, or after their friend has gone on to finish the race. Spectating a race is just as important as running a race!

When you are out there standing on the curb, watching numerous people running past in front of you, cheer them along. Many may be completing quite a personal feat, and your smiles and encouraging words can change a person's race mindset. Just clapping and cheering each runner along can be pivotal for them in the never-ending battle of stopping to walk. With many races starting up in the spring, the weather being so nice, and the competitors out there giving it their all, try to make time to cheer for those who have trained and are looking towards finishing a goal.

You can even make cheering more fun by bringing a boom box, dressing up, or making signs. You are already going to be along the race route, so make the best of your time out there. If you think about the fact that you will probably never see many of the people running again, making a fool of yourself is entertaining to many. Words of encouragement are truly appreciated by the runners at the race.


  • Not TNT 5 years ago

    Not to sound bitter, but most Team-in-Training (TNT) Coaches I've encountered on the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon course do not cheer for runners other than their own TNT runners. I commend their cause but how much more effort would it take to cheer on non-TNT runners?

    Anyway, even if you have an event lined with spectators, unless you know someone in the crowd, you most likely will not get a peep out of anyone. Over the years, I don't expect much from spectators on the course any more (unless I know that someone will be coming out to watch me that day).


  • Danica 5 years ago

    Funny that you bring that up, because I completely agree. The first race I ran was heavily TNT based and I thought it rather odd that they only cheered for their teammates. That's why I think that if you've made the effort to be out there along the course it's very important to cheer for everyone. Everyone is striving for the same goal, and everyone is running the race.

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