Rules of the Road – Race Day Etiquette Tips for Runners

Rules of the Road – Race Day Etiquette Tips for Runners

The number one thing I love about the running community is how friendly and encouraging everyone is! Even though racing can be a competitive sport, fellow runner “competitors” will be the first people there to cheer you on before, during, and after the race. Runners are patient and welcoming to anyone new who wants to join the sport, and out of this community, a general (and often unspoken) understanding of some basic “rules of the road” have been established. So, whether you’re new to racing or just want some reminders, below are a few of our top Do’s and Don’ts for race day etiquette.

  • DO smile and have fun! As we mentioned above, running is more than a sport. It is a community of people looking to be better than their yesterday. Cheer each other on, smile, and enjoy the day! Runners love support from other runners!
  • DON’T arrive late. This one is for your own peace of mind. Remember that there can often be limited parking or long lines at the port-a-potty, so allow for extra time before arriving. A hard and fast rule is that once the race has begun, you will not be allowed to start late. So, plan ahead that way you do not miss your race!
  • DO line up according to pace. At the starting line you will often find that races have pacers who will be holding up finish time goals. Some major races may even have corral starts based on a time you previously entered when registering. If your race does not have either of these things, take your best guess! This rule makes it a great experience for everyone because it minimizes all runners from having to “weave” at the start line which can impact pacing for the first quarter to half mile.
  • DON’T skip the water stops! These are there for you to help you during your race, so be sure to use them to your advantage. Take the water, thank the volunteers, and keep moving forward so that others can also do the same thing. Try to throw the used cup as close to the garbage as possible.
  • DO be aware of your surroundings! Keep in mind some general rules of the road such as running to the right and passing on the left. Avoid blocking other runners from passing by running in the middle of the road and/or running with multiple people in a line blocking the path. If you’re passing another runner, let them know by calling out “on your left”.In addition to being aware of other runners, keep an eye out for cars and bikes, especially if the road is not completely closed to other types of traffic.
  • DON’T stop at the finish! Keep moving past the finish line so that it does not get clogged up. If you need to sit down (trust us, we’ve all been there!) try to move off to the side and get past the finish chute first. If you need medical attention, let a volunteer know so they can help you.
  • DO share your experience! Race companies work hard to give you the best race day experience. If you had a great time, leaving a positive review on their website/social media is always appreciated by all involved.

Looking for more race day and/or running etiquette tips? Check out this article from RRCA to learn more and/or review your race’s website. They always include race-specific rules that should be followed such as whether pets are allowed, etc.! Otherwise, get out there and enjoy your next race! We hope to see you at the Shoots and Ladders 5K/10K on Saturday, May 21st at Oak Point Park in Plano, TX. Happy Running!

Written by: Ashley Morrison

Ashley has over 18 years of running and racing experience and is both NASM CPT and RRCA Certified. For more running tips and tricks, find Ashley at Run With Ashley on Instagram or on her website and blog.

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