Race day etiquette for Runners & Walkers

Race day is very important. Although running is a fun activity, several running enthusiasts spend the day before worrying about their carb intake, rest period and other such fascinating measures that affect performance on that fateful day.

Long ago, in April of 2012 (I have been writing for very long) I wrote an article entitled “Kuwait’s Guidelines for Proper Pedestrian Path Decorum” (link) where I tackled the issue most prevalent amongst the running community – sharing pedestrian paths with, pedestrians! Everything from smokers to toddlers and groups of little old ladies walking side by side were brought up with calls to people to refrain from treating the pedestrian path as their own personal space.

Today, this issue is even more relevant given the two races that took place LAST month in Kuwait (almost typed this month) – the 642 Marathon and the RunQ8 10KM run.

Different people have different goals. Congratulations on deciding to run/walk the full length of the 10KM course, it is a grand gesture of commitment and you should be very pleased with yourself. HOWEVER, please note the following:

1) DO NOT see this as an opportunity to walk side-by-side with all your friends, thereby constricting the pathway allocated to the race and causing returning runners to have to lose time in order to circumvent you. Their goal is to set a new personal record. Do not trivialize this by blocking the path.

2) DO NOT spit! I cannot emphasize enough how disgusting this is, especially when you are constantly surrounded by people. Yes, at times your throat is obstructed, and in those dire cases, please attempt to be civil and aim for an open drain/ green area. DO NOT just spit to your right/left paying no heed to the fact that at that precise moment someone could be coming up on your side.

3) DO NOT discard your used water bottles on the ground in front of you. Yes it is annoying that there are no trash cans, but please do not simply drop your water bottle on the road demarcated for everyone and proceed. It is an annoyance to avoid and can lead to serious injury especially if the water bottle was not empty/ properly closed leading to slippage. Try to throw the bottle away on the grass areas, and be rest assured that someone will clean it up as it is part of every race requirement to have a clean-up crew.

4) On the subject of water, please DO NOT throw water at other runners! This happened to me only once (last saturday at RunQ8) and left me pondering the reasoning behind a complete stranger throwing water as we passed each other on my run back towards the finish line.

5) DO NOT walk in groups larger than two people at a time side-by-side! This cannot be stressed enough as to how much of a hindrance it causes to other runners having to circumnavigate around you in order to continue on to the finish line.

6) High fives and attaboys to strangers are an amazing source of encouragement that should be made mandatory in every race. However, DO NOT put your weight behind your hand when high fiving, especially as a walker high fiving a runner. There is no need to “slap that” and make noise, especially as again, this causes runners to lose focus.

7) DO NOT stop to take pictures/ selfie’s whilst running, keep that for the finish line! Unless you check around you and make sure there are no oncoming runners you might be obstructing.

7) DO NOT raise your arms beside you when running. Using common sense, a runner/walker can feel when someone is coming up behind them, either through peripheral perception (which I talked about/ explained here), watching the ground for approaching shadows or simply hearing them pounding the pavement or gasping for breath. In either case, check around you before raising your arms, as you could find yourself inadvertently clotheslining a runner!

And that, dear all, is that.

Feel free to add anything I might have missed to this list.

Happy running!

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