How to Be a Spectator at a Race

What’s it like being the best spectator ever?

What can you do to make your racer have the best experience ever? 13 ways you can be the best spectator ever (1)

Whether you’re spectating at a road race like a half marathon or a high school cross country race, there are ways you can be the best spectator ever.

Below you’ll find 13.1 ways YOU can be the best spectator EVER.

1. Offer to drive to the race

When you drive, we get to relax and focus on our race. It’s a small gesture but goes a really long way.

2. Bring a camera and a stopwatch

You want to be able to document our race with some photos and videos. A timer/stopwatch will let you know when you might expect to see us at points around the course.


3. Know what time the race starts

Knowing when our race starts allows you to estimate when you’ll see us on the course.

4. Get to the race early to find parking

Find parking in a reasonable area so that we don’t have to do a whole lot of walking. Also, remember where you parked because after the race there’s no way we want to walk for miles and miles because you forgot where you parked.

5. Know the course your runner will be competing on

Find a course map or ask someone where the course goes so that you can be prepared to locate us on the course.

being a good race spectator
How to be a really good race spectator

6. Know where you plan to see your runner during the race

Get to your next cheering spot well before your runner will get there. Set up, get ready to cheer, and be as positive as you can be!

7. Wear sunscreen and stay hydrated

You can be at your best when you’re also taking care of yourself.

8.  Before their race, give your runner some space

We need to get into our positive mindset and do our preparations (including warming up). It’s great that you’re there, but space is what we really need.

9. Wear clothes (and shoes) you can run around in

You’re not likely to be running as fast as us while you cheer, but you still want to be comfortable and look the part. Wear running/workout clothes so you can do what you need to do.

13.1 ways you can be a great spectator
13.1 ways you can be a great spectator

10. Be OK with getting muddy, dirty and sweaty

There’s always a chance the weather will be bad. Be fine with getting a bit dirty and sweaty! If we are, so can you!

11. Be prepared to cheer for all the runners

Sure, you at the race for us, but don’t neglect everyone else who is working hard in the race. Give a few cheers to everyone!

12. Let your runner cool down after their race

After our race, whether it went good or bad, we need to properly cool down. It’s just part of being a runner and it’s something that needs to happen. Don’t rush us, please!


13. Bring a post-race snack for your runner

If you’ve ever run a race, you know how vital a post-race recovery snack is. Thanks in advance!!

13.1 Give all the high fives!

Be supportive of everyone who raced, not just me. It’s cool that you throw some high fives and compliments to other runners.

If you can follow even a few of these tips above, we’ll have such a good race! We’re so thankful that you came to our race and for you to provide motivation and support means the world to us. We know that we’ve worked hard to race well and we thank you for sacrificing on race day for us to have a good race.

What tips would you add that Marc didn’t? Share them in the comments, on Twitter, or on Instagram with the hashtag ‘BestSpectator’.


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Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach
Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach

I am a USATF Track and Field & Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT O2 certified running coach. I have more than 19 years of experience running and more than 10 years of experience coaching runners. Click for more information!


7 thoughts on “How to Be a Spectator at a Race

  1. These are great tips! I have spectated the NYC Marathon a few times and one thing that really has helped for me is wearing compression socks. Since I’m often on my feet for hours, the socks really help!


  2. Offering to drive and offering to hold some clean post race gear is key!


  3. Okay #1 and #8 HANDS DOWN.
    If someone drives me to a race I’m over the moon excited. I get really stressed out with race day driving/parking.


  4. These are great! So true! I would just add “Make a Sign if You Can” – I got (okay forced) my kids to make one for me when I ran my first Half. But it applied to many runners and they got so many positive reviews!


  5. Absolutely – I love when my wife drives 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love me some dry clothes. Wife knows that’s the key to my heart


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