Wednesday, July 9, 2014

5K Etiquette

Gibson 5K Start

Recently, I completed the Memphis Summer Race Series.  

It was 4 evening races throughout the city of Memphis.

Zoom through the Zoo (4 miles)
Harbortown 5K
Gibson 5K
Stars and Stripes 5k

For the most part, they were fun.

EXCEPT for the beginning of each race.

Every single race was difficult to start.  Unusually difficult.  I run a lot of 5ks.  These were the worst when it came to 5k etiquette. 

In truth, it was likely because there were many people running who had never done so in a race format before.  

Walkers and stroller pushers started at the beginning.  People tried to run in huddles.  

Each race was a mess at the start.  The worst BY FAR was Zoom through the Zoo.  I know I felt that way about the race.  It was confirmed by a group of people I was standing in front of waiting to use the restroom at Stars and Stripes.

So, I thought I'd make a list of the 5 bits of 5K Etiquette Advice.

1.  If you haven't run 3 miles in the last 6 months, get your butt to the back of the start.  

In every single race, I would be about a quarter of a mile in when people would start dropping like flies.  They would be panting, hands on hips, trying to figure out what happened.  

If you haven't been for a run in a while, you aren't going to magically be able to run a full 3.1 miles.  I admire you for trying, but don't slow down everyone else by being at the front of the runners.  

2.  If you have a stroller, get to the back!  

I witnessed a child get clipped by a stroller because some dude though the could just plow through the crowd with his 2 year old child in a stroller. 

What the heck?  You know that your timing chip will give you your accurate time.  Why would you try to be up in the huddle with your precious child.  It's not worth it.

Truly, I think strollers should be in a separate division and should have a separate start time.  Many races don't allow them.

3.  Don't wear perfume.

YUCK!  There is nothing worse than trying to take a deep breath while you run and being forced to inhale someone's awful Walmart perfume.  

A race is not the place for it.  We all stink.  Get over it.

4.  Don't wear the race t-shirt.  Everyone will know you're a newbie.

This doesn't really annoy me, but I thought I should share. 

No one who has ever participated in a 5k before actually wears the race shirt to the race they are running.  Just a little tip from me to you!

5.  Be an encourager.

I have told this story numerous times.  I was dying at the end of Zoom through the Zoo.  I wanted to walk.  A girl came up out of nowhere and just started cheering me on.  She was like, "You can do this! Finish strong!"  She completely changed my outlook.  I am forever grateful to her.

Sidenote: I tried to encourage a guy at my last race.  He was walking right at the end.  I was like, "You've got this!  Come on!"  He was clearly embarrassed.  Which was the exact opposite of what I wanted to do.  He started telling me about how he had just worked out legs yesterday and that it probably wasn't a good idea.  So, maybe you should just encourage people of the same gender.  I don't know.  Maybe it actually helped him.

Just do your part to help everyone get across that finish line!

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