5 Ways to Be the Best Race Spectator

how to be a fun race spectator  happyfitmama.com

Not running sucks.

It’s a fact. You know it. I know it. Damn, do I ever know it.

You would think I would want nothing to do with racing right now since I’m injured. While it may kill me to see so many people doing exactly what I love, I really do enjoy spectating a race.

Watching a race may seem boring to some. Standing on the side of the road watching people run by.


That’s the problem. You are watching, not spectating. What is boring about spectating athletes of every size, shape, age and walk of life, race by with hope, grit, athleticism and determination? Absolutely nothing.

Honolulu Marathon mile 25 | happyfitmama.com

Go watch a race and I can guarantee you’ll be inspired.

For a runner, having spectators on the course to support you is huge. There is nothing like the sound of cheering and clapping to keep you going. Crowd support can be a game changer when your mind is screaming “You CAN’T do this!” But then a simple, “You’ve got this!” or “Looking strong!” from a spectator can be enough to keep your legs moving.

They convince you that you CAN do this. It’s a marvelous thing.

In some ways, spectating a race is just as hard as actually running the race. Spectating involves cheering for everyone you see, traveling from point to point to watch your runners and if you do it right, acting like a fool. There’s logistics, strategy and planning. Cheering, clapping and of course, MORE COWBELL, are all good ways to support the athletes. But why not have some fun with it? Those athletes are deep in the pain cave. You job is to make them forget it, even if it’s for 10 seconds. You want to be the best athletic supporter there is out on the course.

spirit5k2crop | HappyFitMama.com

5 Fun Ways to Be the Best Race Spectator

1. Be a Sugar Mama/Daddy.

What makes everyone happy? Candy! Gummy bears, jelly beans, licorice or anything easily digestible and sweet. Another option is orange slices or pretzels. The athletes will flock to you. During the Honolulu Marathon I was craving salt around mile 21 or so. An awesome spectator had a bowl full of the best damn pretzels I’ve ever tasted.

2. Make it rain.

If you are spectating a race in the heat, bring along squirt guns or Super Soakers to cool the runners down. If the race just so happens to run by your house, hook up a sprinkler for the athletes to run through. That’s sure to bring a smile to the runner’s face.

3. Play dress up.

Get crazy with feather boas, wigs, hats and glasses. Wear a banana costume. How can you not smile at someone wearing a banana costume?

4. Bring in ‘da noise. Bring in ‘da funk.

Hook your iPod up to speakers and blast some tunes. The Rocky theme is always good if you are spectating on a killer hill. Bonus if you choreograph a routine to the song.

5. Signs, signs, everywhere signs.

Signs are a sure fire way to distract a runner from the pain cave. Motivation and inspiring words are great but funny signs are way better. Laughter really is the best medicine.

What sight during a race gets you out of the pain cave?

22 comments on “5 Ways to Be the Best Race Spectator

  1. Some great points. I especially love the idea of having snacks of some sort. Also, I’m not sure if it was intention but every time I read “athletic supporter” I thought “jockstrap” and had a little chuckle.
    Al recently posted..Hair: Art Class Number NineMy Profile

    1. Exactly! There’s been times when I’ve been the runner and thought I don’t even want to be running in this cruddy weather let alone standing in the pouring rain, freezing, watching runners go by. Hard core spectators!

  2. Oh goodness you’re so right! It’s gotta be so hard to be a spectator! I’ll never take them for granted during a race again… Great tips on dressing up, signs, and, of course, the famous cowbell! 😉

  3. Great ideas! I do love spectating at races. It’s nice to see the race from the other side 🙂
    Plus, I really realize how much runners appreciate the support.
    Also, it takes my mind off of not running and getting inspired for when I start running again!
    Natalie recently posted..Weekend Update!My Profile

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