I’ve run a lot of races over the last two and a half years. The distances range from short 5ks to marathons and half Ironmans. Every single race has had spectators, either lined throughout the course or only waiting at the finish line.
Most spectators have family members or friends who are running the race and with the long races, like marathons, there are usually random citizens who live on or near the course and come out to just watch the spectacle. Either way, I love seeing all the people lined throughout the course in a big race. It makes me happy to see a random stranger cheering me on.
But honestly, sometimes the spectators can do things that just make you mad. During the Tulsa Run in 2013, some guy was holding a sign telling us that we’re all going to hell unless we accept Jesus. I wanted to punch him in the dick. How dare you do something like that when people are running a race. And fuck you for trying to tell me what you believe is right and what I believe is wrong.
At the OKC Memorial Marathon, a church on Grand Blvd placed permanent signs telling us the same thing. If I would have had a match I would have burned them down!
The Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa in 2012 brought a different set of problems. Over the last mile, which was all downhill, the cops handling traffic kept saying, “You’re almost there!” Nothing pisses off a runner more than someone saying that. I don’t know why! Maybe because in pain and completely out of your mind and that’s just the last thing you want to hear.
The best spectators are the ones that have the most original signs or do something totally off the wall. The people who set up bars on a course are the best, even though I’ve never stopped to have a drink. I love that a spectator takes the time to do something crazy like that for us.
- Be original
- Be creative
- Do something shocking. Trust me, it takes our mind off the pain.
- Push an agenda on us (Religitards, I’m talking to you!)
- Make up a stupid sign you found by Googling “funny race signs.”
- Tell me I’m almost there unless it’s followed by a sign that says you suck at math!
- Insult me with your sign. Telling me I’m crazy for doing this is kind of mean. I busted my ass to train for this race while you’re sitting on the sideline being an asshole. You might as well go ahead and buy that 0.0 sticker. You’re a dick!
This Sunday my wife and I will become spectators at the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa, OK. This will be the first time I spectate a major marathon and I’m really excited. I am always a runner. I never get to see the leaders. I never get to see my friends. I am looking forward to cheering on my buddies who worked so freakin’ hard to run this race.
I will offer them alcohol and some might even take it. I have two signs that are completely original…..and offer some reference to an inside joke! I will wear a stupid costume so my friends can easily see me!
And most of all, I will have a blast riding my bicycle around in the rain to support my friends as they run in misery. They’ve trained; they’ve suffered. The least I can do is cheer them on!
See you Sunday!