You might not expect it, but I’m loud. I scream and cheer. If I can read your name on your shirt, I will cheer for you. If I see Team in Training runners, I will yell “Go Team!” I’m excited for the people racing and know that most have put in a lot of effort to get to this point. Inevitably, I leave the race with a sore throat and hoarse voice.
You know why? Because as a runner and a racer, I know that I appreciate it when the crowd gets into the race. I feed off that energy. When I am struggling and I see and hear the crowds pulling for the runners out on the course, it helps me dig a little deeper and push a little harder.
I distinctly remember running the Marine Corps Marathon back in 2002. For those of you not familiar with the course, it ends with an up-hill climb to the finish line at the Marine Corps War Memorial. As we climbed up the hill to the finish, there were many spectators lining the course – completely silent. This was the finish!! By that point in the race, I was spent and it was somewhat demoralizing that no one was cheering. Much to my husband’s amusement, I yelled at the crowd to “Cheer goddamnit!!!” Excuse my language but I was mad.
This past weekend, I had the chance to cheer on runners at the Nike Women’s Marathon. I landed in San Francisco after midnight on Sunday night and woke up at 6:30am in the morning and rushed out the door. I hadn’t planned on being in San Francisco this weekend but a business trip brought me out West and I was excited for the opportunity to spectate and to cheer on some Fitfluential Ambassadors.
As I stood along the Embarcadero, there were a number of spectators but it was pretty quiet and it kind of upset me. I know it was early and I know that race spectating can actually be pretty tiring but there are runners out there giving it their all. Who cares if you don’t personally know them? You can still cheer, right?
So, what kind of race spectator are you?
Congratulations to ALL the runners and racers this weekend.
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