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Advice for Students

Runners Etiquette

November 01, 2013  |     |   0 Comment

Man running in city marathon - motion blurI’m fairly new to the world of running.  Last year I completed my first 5k run during the Napa Valley Marathon weekend in California.  I’ve advanced to running 10k and was proud to participate in this summer’s Ottawa Marathon weekend.  My husband and I spent the Thanksgiving weekend in Chicago where he ran the Chicago Marathon – I was a mere spectator for this amazing event!  And we’ve both just registered to run the 10k Resolution Run on New Year’s Eve!

Running is a part of our lives.  Along this journey, I have gained valuable knowledge with respect to running etiquette and the importance, whether one is a beginner or experienced runner, of respecting the “rules of the road” during your race.

Here are some of the “do’s and don’ts” of runners etiquette to keep in mind for anyone entering a race – whether it is a 5K, 10K, half-marathon or full marathon:

Runners Etiquette Do’s:

  • Move to the side if someone behind you says “excuse me” or “on your right/left.”  The person behind you is giving you a heads up before passing.  It’s proper race etiquette to let that person pass you without blocking their effort
  • If someone in front of you is wearing headphones, and they are blocking you, gently touch their elbow or shoulder as you pass to alert them to your presence.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings.  The course may or may not be closed to traffic.  If is your responsibility to watch for oncoming traffic.
  • Yield the right-of-way to all police and emergency vehicles.
  • Run or walk no more than two abreast.
  • If you are walking in a group, stay to the back of the pack and follow the two abreast rule.
  • Say “thank you” to the volunteers manning the aid and water stations.

Runners Etiquette Don’ts:

  • If you drop something as the race starts, don’t stop and pick it up.  This could cause a massive pile-up!!  Wait until almost everyone has crossed the starting line and then retrieve it.
  • Don’t drop clothing on the running course after you warm-up.  If you must shed layers of clothing, tie them around your waist or place them on the side of the road where no one will trip over them.  If you drop it, don’t expect to get it back.
  • Don’t block runners coming up behind you by swerving needlessly back and forth across the course.
  • When approaching an aid station to hydrate or re-fuel, don’t block other runners – step to the right side of the road and proceed to the aid station
  • If you take a cup of water at an aid station from a volunteer, don’t throw your cup down by your waist once finished or over your shoulder – throw your used cup to the right side away from the course and as close to an aid station as possible.
  • Bodily functions are a fact of life during a race.  If you need to spit or blow your nose, don’t do so as you are running along the running course –  move to the side of the road to do so.  If nature calls, check for a port-a-potty along the course.

Most importantly, enjoy your race and be proud of your accomplishment!


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