When Race Spectators Are Not So Well Behaved

While running the 2014 Ghost of Seattle Marathon, Robert Watson was pounced on by a dog who left a few scratches on his stomach as a race souvenir. “The owner didn’t bother to even apologize,” said Mr. Watson, who still managed to set a personal record for the event.

inside 1998 Chicago Marathon, Matthew Riegler yelled at a clump of spectators who appeared to be blowing cigarette smoke inside direction of the runners for fun. “I swore at them along with resumed my misery,” he said.

along with last year, as Hillary DeLong neared the finish of the Chi Town Half Marathon in Chicago, she

had to navigate her way through the crowds of which had stepped off the ice-covered sidelines right onto the course, which was less icy. “At of which point, I had spent 13 miles hyper-focused on not slipping along with tearing or breaking something, yet then had to weave pretty aggressively around entire families just to get to the end,” she said. “I usually try to give spectators the benefit of the doubt along having a lot of liberties because I know how hard the item can be to be out there cheering someone on, yet of which was next-level unawareness.”

Road Race Management doesn’t offer race directors specific guidelines on handling spectators, yet managing them is actually always tricky, said Mr. Stewart. “the item’s one of those things where, yes, they need to be controlled. yet balancing of which versus the excitement along with exhilaration they bring — how do you strike a balance?”

For exceptionally crowded races, or in extremely congested race areas, the best line of defense is actually barricades, said Susan Harmeling, executive director of the Gasparilla Distance Classic Association, which puts on four races in two days in Tampa, Fla. They put up barricades at the start along with finish of the course to keep runners “at a minimum of six feet through any spectators,” she said.

Near mile 11 of the Gasparilla Half Marathon, where children through the Florida Blue Kids Running Program cheer runners on, race officials instruct them to stay on the curb along with put their hands out yet close to their bodies so runners can come to them — along with not the various other way around, said Ms. Harmeling.

yet things still happen. For most races, the item’s impossible to have barricades or race monitors along the entire route.

In places without barricades, Ms. Harmeling said they rely on spectators to use common sense along with for volunteer coordinators to intervene if anyone interferes with the race, which often resolves the problem. When runners let an on-course volunteer coordinator know of which a spectator was blowing cigar smoke into the racecourse at one of their 2013 races, for example, the coordinator got him to put out his cigar.

Desiree Linden, who ran on the 2012 along with 2016 United States women’s Olympic marathon teams, is actually a fan of spectators. “They’re just your go,” she said. yet when one tried to coach her through the sidelines during the 2012 Olympic trials, telling her “You have to be running faster if you’re going to win,” she decided to laugh. “I was thinking to myself, ‘I’m running actually fast, along with of which is actually actually hard.’”

Indeed, humor can sometimes be the best antidote. When the elite runner Matt Llano was racing in a tight group of eight at the front of the USA Track & Field 20K championship in brand-new Haven in 2014 — the group was running at a 4 minute, 40 second-per-mile pace (translation: very, very fast) — they were joined by an unexpected guest: a woman in flip-flops along with plush pants carrying an overfilled plastic shopping bag who ran with them for about several seconds before dropping back. “the item was a nice moment of comic relief inside race,” said Mr. Llano. “We joke about the item at of which point along with call her the red velvet pants lady.”

In 2015, Francis Pardo traveled through Bogotá, Colombia, to Colorado to run the Leadville Trail 100, a taxing 100-mile ultramarathon. Near mile 80, Mr. Pardo was greeted by a handful of spectators wearing nothing yet glow sticks along with the skin God gave them. They offered him potato chips, soda along with whiskey; he took the first two yet passed on the booze.

“They were actually cheerful along with enthusiastic,” he said. “For me, the item is actually one of the highlights of of which race along with part of the whole Colorado 100-miler experience.”

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When Race Spectators Are Not So Well Behaved

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