Runners should practice proper race etiquette

Posted Dec. 23, 2011, at 5:17 p.m.

Although the major racing season is over for the year and most of us will not race much between now and spring, I want to focus on race etiquette. A lot goes into running races — from training to race strategy — and some people need to learn the common rules of race etiquette.

Runners should arrive at least an hour before the race starts if they need to register. Please do not show up 15 minutes before the gun to register. And please do not complain about not getting the right size T-shirt. I know everyone wants the coveted shirt, but race directors have a lot more on their minds than making sure everybody gets the correct size shirt.

Once everyone reaches the starting line, make sure you find a spot in the pack according to your pace and projected finish time. Only the runners who can keep a 5-minute pace should be in the front row. The problem is everyone thinks they belong in the second row. Unless you can maintain sub 6-minute pace, please do not line up in the second row. It creates a lot of congestion and an unsafe start when runners who run a 25-minute 5K — or even 21:00 — line up in the second row and think they deserve to be there.

During the race itself, there is a lot more to race etiquette than not cutting people off or not clipping the feet of the person in front of you. You should think about not zig-zagging across the road and unintentionally cutting people off. You should not pass in narrow areas where you impede other runners. Try to pass before or after narrow areas. Runners should jog or walk through water stations and not stop. That way others behind you do not have to stop and you are not creating congestion.

Lastly, do not become mad, obnoxious or rude after crossing the finish line. It is OK to be disappointed with your time or dislike the course; it is not OK to take out your frustration on anybody else. This includes showing good sportsmanship, not cursing or using profanity, and not complaining to volunteers, race directors, timers or finish chute officials. Please leave those people alone as they have a job to do until the race is over. You also could thank those people for coming out and putting on such a great race.

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