Spectators are a huge part of any race and I love being a spectator as much as I love being in a race!
Since spring race season is ramping up, this is the perfect time for a post on some tips for spectating that you can apply to yourself as a racer or spectator, or pass on to your spectators.
As a Race Participant
Tell your spectators what you will be wearing so they know what to look for and where you expect to be time wise! It’s not easy to spot runners in the middle of crowds so make sure to communicate this before hand.
Wear something bright (hats are also great for this) so you can easily be spotted. This is the best way for your spectators to find you – stand out from the crowd!
Map it Out
Make a plan with your people so you can keep an eye out to where they will be and where you might need them the most. Seeing a spectator at the right time will definitely give you a boost. If you know you always have a rough mile 18 – send them to mile 18!
Smile, wave, say thank you… it’s a tough job being a spectator, so if you have the energy (which I know sometimes I definitely do not) try to thank them for being out there! Even if it’s just a smile, they love it and it will actually make you feel better too.
As a spectator
I know that sounds simple but it’s true. It’s very hard to constantly be in cheer mode, especially when you are out there for hours and they are people you don’t know, but try to give everyone some enthusiasm. A cowbell is great for this when your voice gets tired.
When someone has a name on their shirt, they want you to say it! I love the reaction I get from racers when I actually acknowledge them by name. It’s definitely a boost hearing your name in the middle of a race.
Yes be bright as a spectator too! Wear something so your racer can spot you and has something to look for. It’s hard to find your spectators when you are out there running, so when you have something bright to look for it helps!
Signs are fun and all the racers love them! They also help when you are getting tired out there and your voice is dwindling. Holding a sign shows support!
Have a Plan
Check out the race course map before hand and try to have a plan of where you will be so you can communicate that with your person. They will know where to look for you!
Spectating is a tough job too but it is also fun! People are out there working hard, pushing themselves, so when they see you having fun, they will have more fun too! Make funny signs, bring a boom box, have a party on the side of the road… anything to keep your spirit up and boost the racer’s spirits too!
Have you been a spectator before? What are your tips for spectating?