A Runner's Guide to Etiquette

A Runner's Guide to Etiquette

A Runner''s Guide to Etiquette

By Kirby Adams

I was thrilled to find a flyer on running etiquette when I picked up my race number at the Anthem 5K Classic last month. Our area''s walking and running community is growing and the need to educate is prime.

While the information may seem pretty basic to those who have been in the game for a while, for the newbie, running etiquette is not second nature. In fact, it can be totally foreign. Walking four abreast, lining up too close to the starting line or coming to a dead stop to pick up a dropped glove are faux pas, which are often not intentional but simply a lack of knowledge.


Read your race application. It will tell you where and when you need to be on race day. For that matter, you may find out that you need to pick up your race number and shirt the day before. On race day it''s a good idea to show up early. Parking is often an issue and you will find yourself running an extra mile or two just to get to the starting line if you get there late and have to park far away. Besides that, the closer to the start time, the more hectic things get for the volunteers and if you have questions you''ll make life easier on everyone if you have time to spare. Port-o-potties can have lines that are 15-20 racers deep, so it''s a good idea to use the restroom at home.

Your race number goes on the front of your shirt; I like to put that on before I leave home. Avoid a mistake I have made; don''t pin it to your shirt and your shorts/pants, because if you have to use the restroom you''ll have undo the entire thing. The detachable tag on you race numbers is for the finish line officials, it tells them where you came in overall, so don''t take yours off.

Now lets jump back to the starting line. Unless you really think you have a shot at winning the race, do not line up at the starting line or even near the front! Line up in the pack according to your pace. If you are a slower runner, line up near the middle or the back. If you are a walker, line up behind all the runners. Most races now have mile pace signs; look for those signs along the side of road and line up appropriately. Once the race starts don''t stop. There is a good chance someone will run into you and one of you will end up falling or twisting an ankle. We all have bad days. If you need to stop, run or walk out of the pack over to the side of the road and get out of the flow or runners and walkers.


If you prefer to run with friends (it can certainly make the race more fun) please don''t string yourselves out across the road. Run or walk two or, at the most, three abreast.


Do you like to spit when you run or walk? I admit, it helps me. It''s fine with my running partner and I admit I tend to do it less in the general public, but sometimes you just gotta do it. Please move to the side of the pack and spit away from the rest of us. Also if you need to throw up (yes people vomit at times, often at the end of the race) try to get away from the masses. I truly have pity on those who get sick, because I have done it myself and it is not fun. But at least try to run through the crowd and find a tree.


There are usually water stations every mile or so with volunteers holding cups or bottles of water or sports drinks. If you need to stop or slow down to get it from their hands, move to the side, and stay there if you want to drink it slowly. And remember, someone has to clean up your trash. If you can, get rid of your trash as close to the water station as possible so the volunteers don''t have to walk to the next stop picking up. Keep in mind, it''s perfectly OK and much appreciated if you thank the volunteers during the race.


When you reach the finish line and head down the shoot, keep moving! Don''t stop to wave to your husband or bend over and tie your shoe; your fellow racers are streaming in behind you.

In this age of technological advancement, we run and walk with race chips (those little discs you get in your race packet that attach to our shoe laces and record times) in most races. You will be charged a hefty fee if you don''t return it when you cross the line. Look for volunteers who will often cut if off for you and deposit it in a box. Don''t forget this!

Also at the finish line you''ll find lots of great things to eat and drink. Don''t cart off six-packs of sports drinks. There is always someone else who may come across the line and needs to hydrate.

Most importantly, don''t forget to respect your fellow athletes and remember to say "please" and "thank you."

Kirby Adams is the consumer reporter for Kentuckiana''s News Channel WHAS-11 and a sports and fitness buff. You can e-mail Kirby at kirby.adams@whas11.com. Kirby is also a member of Kentuckiana HealthFitness'' Editorial Advisory Board.

If you know of a little "gem" or a story, you would like to share it with our readers, drop me a note about it.

Kirby Adams
520 West Chestnut Street
Louisville , KY 40202

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