November 3, 2010

Running: A Spectator's Sport

I have Marathon fever and I'm loving every minute of it! In 4 days, I will watch thousand of athletes run through Central Park towards the finish line of the ING NYC Marathon. And two weeks later, I will join thousands of other runners for a 26.2 miles of fun at the Philadelphia Marathon. Every time I think about these races, I get giddy & excited and a whole bunch of other emotions I can't even describe. Some people love the holidays, I love the marathons. Walking through the streets of NYC, I can already feel the energy. It's intoxicating.

And now a message for all your folks not running the races: Get out there & cheer! You don't have to be a runner or even "understand" why someone would want to run a marathon to know that this race means so much to the folks out there, and that alone is a reason to support them. They have trained for months, both physically and mentally, to get to this point. And you have the opportunity to be part of their experience, to cheer them on & encourage them; to help them push through to the finish line. You know all the cheering & screaming & signs? It actually does mean so much to the runners out there! They CAN hear you and see you. And when they have those moments of doubt, or they're feel like they're too tired to keep going, sometimes it is your cheering that gives them the strength to persevere.

If you're new to the whole spectating thing, or just want some fresh ideas (although I can't take credit for thinking of them) ....

Inspirational Signs:
  • Millions of people never even started today. You are one in the million who did.
  • This is where CHAMPIONS rise to the occasion (at the top of a hill in the course)
  • This way to GLORY!
  • You made it to the start, you will make it to the finish
  • All walls have doors (around mile 20-22 when most runners "hit the wall")
  • This mile marker is farther than most people may ever run
  • Pain is nothing compared to what it feels like to quit
  • Pain is temporary. Pride is forever
  • Your place in history is almost secure (towards the end of the race)
  • You are no longer a runner. You are a MARATHONER! (at the finish line)
Funny Signs:

  • You're not slow. You just know how to enjoy a race course!
  • If it were easy, I'd do it.
  • It's not 26.2 miles... it's 10 water stops!
  • Stop reading this & keep running!
  • They're just toenails
  • They're just nipples
  • Beat Jared the Subway Guy
  • Holy Sh*t! You just ran a Marathon! (at the finish line)

Cheering Ideas:
  • Looking strong!
  • Finish stronger than you started!
  • You CAN do this!
  • You are a ROCK STAR!
  • You got this!
  • One step in front of the other!
And here are some things NOT to say or cheer:
  • You're almost there (when they are NOT almost there)
  • This is the last hill (when it's NOT the last hill)
  • Run faster (trust me, they are trying)
And finally, you know how most runners have their names written on their shirts? It's so you can cheer for them, even if you don't know them. So cheer for them, scream their names and give them the energy they need to finish strong! You just may experience that moment when a runner looks you in the eye and truly thanks you. Then you'll realize how much it means to be a spectator.

This weekend, I'll be stationed just after mile 24 in Central Park with my big double sided sign ready to cheer everyone on. Hope to see you there!



  1. this is a great post! any race (marathons especially) wouldnt be complete without all the crazy/awesome spectators cheering everyone on (and thanks for the poster ideas!)
    have fun in nyc and good luck in philly!!

  2. LOVE this post! The signs are great. I really think this is the best week of the year in NYC. I see runners from out of town jogging through the clogged rush hour foot traffic on Lex. All the buzz and excitement! I'm not running this year but I'm totally geeked out about the race and I will definitely be out cheering!

  3. I have to say, as someone who has completed a bucket load of races, I have never had as much fun as I did being an "athletic supporter" for my running friends.

    Making signs and cheering my ass off was so much fun and I wish more people did it because I am so thankful to those who scream my name and wish me good luck on the sidelines.

    I hope you have AMAZING races.

  4. "It's all downhill from here" was the worst thing someone ever said to me during a race. She was figuratively speaking but literally incorrect!

    I'm your opposite! Running on Sunday & cheering in Philly! At times I'm more excited about cheering & holding up a sign than actually running my own first marathon.

  5. I'm so excited for Sunday too!! Every year I cheer (and don't run) makes me want to run it again :) Spectators are the best and NY has the best ones!

  6. WONDERFUL post! I very much enjoyed this and laughed at the signs at the end! I am learning the importance of goals and being discplined even if means it will be hard. I am loving it!

    By the way, GREAT design on your website. Love it!

  7. "Your feet are hurting so much because you're kicking so much ass" I LOVE that one. Too funny. And the one about beating Jared ;)

  8. This is great-I agree with you, I love love love marathon day! It's one of my 3 favorite NY days :) I can't wait for Sunday.

  9. I love those signs!!! How funny! Glad you got the fever, girl!! Go get em'!

  10. This is awesome! As a runner myself, as I'm heading back to my car, I usually have to walk back along the race route. I'm not super fast, but there are usually some people still finishing (especially so if I ran the half and there's a full). My favorite part of any race is to stop there and cheer for a bit. Just paying it forward.

  11. Love the signs. I'm currently more of a cyclist but getting into running. Your suggestion cross over well.