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Episode 27: Race Etiquette

April 18, 2011

Listen to Episode 27

The issue: How is one to behave in a race? Steve stepped in as host and was joined by Amy, Brenn, and Karla. Bottom line: just use your head and be considerate. (Do we really have to tell people to make sure no one is in the line-of-flight when they spit?) If you’re wondering, this is the show for you.

Amy mentioned a Facebook thread. Here it is

Joe GarlandNew York Road Runners (NYRR)
A thread got going on aspects of race etiquette and we’re going to do a show on it. But what are your pet peeves about racing? The person who just stops in the middle of the course? The guys using the race as a workout and chatting the whole time? The gal who knocks down 5 cups when she’s trying to get 1? The person who cuts every corner? Not gripes about NYRR. Gripes about our fellow runners.
April 13 at 2:06pm · ·

    • Dahlia YoeliHaving to avoid crashing into people who stop suddenly or dodge walkers in the middle of the course is annoying, but bearable. My biggest pet peeve is when people don’t look before spitting or don’t go off to the side – I almost got spit on and it’s incredibly disgusting.

      April 13 at 2:19pm · · 5 peopleLoading…
    • Amy Lynn ShapiroPeople in the wrong corral. If you are wearing a brown bib and want to run with your friend wearing a green one, they need to run in your corral,

      April 13 at 2:25pm · · 7 peopleLoading…
    • Douglas J DuncanSince i am a relatively new runner, and probably make some etiquette mistakes myself, i am fairly forgiving. I could have done without the overwhelming stench of perfume from the woman running in front of me at the Scotland Run this past weekend though. I mean, did she have a hot date after the morning race?

      April 13 at 2:42pm · · 4 peopleLoading…
    • Janet Gottlieb

      I disagree with Dahlia, because I’m not sure it’s “bearable” to come close to crashing into the back of what’s sometimes a several-runners-across group which has decided to take their walking break
      Several-runners-across groups preventing ot…hers from passing, particularly where the running lane is narrower, usually chatting or in headphones and therefore oblivious to the impediment they’re creating.
      Others include the faster runners who, particularly in Central Park half marathons, lap the slower runners left AND right, without regard for the lane reserved for them
      Runners who spill Gatorade without regard for the sticky mess they’re leaving for the runners behind them
      Runners who spill water in sub-freezing conditions, without regard for the slippery conditions they’re creating.
      Racers who have finished and cross the running lanes to leave the park, without regard for the runners still on the course.See More
      April 13 at 2:46pm ·
    • Dahlia Yoeli

      I agree with Amy on the corrals. They are there for the safety and convienience of the runners. I know that if I even tried going in the first corral I would probably be trampled on, or at least be a danger to myself and to those who are re…ally that fast. The corral issue is probably tied into the crashing into walkers issue in that some of the slower runners place themselves further up front than they should. I know that I said “bearable” in my last comment but I do have to agree with Janet in the sense that if the course is too crowded to get around them, then it’s not bearable. If I get lucky and there is an easy path around them, it’s annoying but not as bad.See More
      April 13 at 3:11pm ·
    • Andy Cross

      Corral enforcement is a difficult one… there’s always going to be a few runners who feel entitled to a better start position than their bib dictates, and it takes a tough marshal to stand up to such individuals. Without wanting to general…ize, your average race volunteer who’s doing to job for their 9+1 requirement is likely inexperienced in such confrontations and wants the least aggravation possible during their shift. Don’t know how you solve that one, short of having full-time NYRR bouncers on the corral entrances instead of volunteers!See More
      April 13 at 3:20pm · · 3 peopleLoading…
    • Gal CohenRunners that pass you, slot in right in front of you and then slow down forcing you to alter your pace or pass them now.

      April 13 at 3:47pm · · 5 peopleLoading…
    • Amy Lynn ShapiroGal, that was me.

      April 13 at 3:48pm · · 1 personLoading…
    • Steven la MuraWhen you are running next to someone and you can hear their keys dangling in their pockets.

      April 13 at 3:54pm · · 2 peopleLoading…
    • Joe GarlandAs to corral-enforcement, I’ll note someone on our show complained about it at Coogan’s and praised it at Scotland. Corral-assignment is complicated as to those not in the NYRR database, and it is a real problem. But these are NYRR issues that we don’t want to get into.

      April 13 at 4:06pm ·
    • Gal Cohen‎+1 on the keys.

      April 13 at 4:13pm via ·
    • Nicole CusatoJanet, I agree with you about the several runners across groups, but I doubt people are purposely spilling water and gatorade. When you have people running a certain pace for a time goal (and who just grab their cups and go), I’m sure there’s going to be some accidental spillage that cannot be controlled.

      April 13 at 4:52pm · · 1 personLoading…
    • Douglas J DuncanI dunno Nicole. Until i get faster, i have to rely on sneaky tricks like Gatorade slicks and kicking people in the shins if i want to place better. 😉

      April 13 at 5:44pm · · 2 peopleLoading…
    • John CorporonPeople who cut street corners, especially those who then go on and race along the sidewalk.

      April 13 at 6:25pm ·
    • Carl VanderbushCorollary to the keys: the runner who was pacing right behind me and gasping for air on every breath. That’s fine in the last quarter of the race (when I’m gasping as loud as anyone) but in the first mile? You’re psychologically tiring me out!

      April 13 at 6:59pm · · 3 peopleLoading…
    • Francis KwokPeople who run 3-4 abreast

      April 13 at 7:28pm ·
    • Francis KwokAnd those who dart all over

      April 13 at 7:28pm ·
    • Shea Donato

      Definitely +1 on the corrals. It’s incredibly frustrating to watch people with a bib color that should be 3 or 4 corrals behind you jump into the corral in FRONT of you. Especially when it’s a large pack of them and I have to work my ass of…f to get around them because they also decided to pull the “let’s all run abreast” thing. Biggest pet peeve for me by far.

      And +1 to the spitting as well. Please PLEASE go over to the side of the course and spit off where no one’s going to get nailed by it. I think this happened during the Joe Kleinerman in December, but my friend and I (we always run together b/c we have a nearly identical race pace) were running somewhat staggered, and I witnessed him nearly get nailed by a woman who somehow managed to launch her spit 3 feet in his direction and nearly hit him. The look on his face and glare toward her nearly made me double over laughing, but he wasn’t too pleased.See More

      April 13 at 7:36pm ·
    • Lawrence WilkesRunners who wear an ipod during a race.

      April 13 at 7:41pm · · 4 peopleLoading…
    • Janet Gottlieb

      Nicole, I agree the water and Gatorade spilling isn’t purposeful. It’s totally thoughtless because it is foreseeable and avoidable. Part of training to run in races is learning how to grab a cup and then to drink out of it–people have va…rious strategies including carrying straws and various folding techniques.
      Other people carry handhelds because they’re not up to dealing with the water stops.
      If you’ve done the Marathon, unless you’ve been among the leaders, you’ve experienced the sticky pavement every mile.See More
      April 13 at 7:57pm ·
    • Anne Reidyperhaps have a word to the well meaning volunteers about not filling water or gatorade to the brim?

      April 13 at 8:58pm · · 2 peopleLoading…
    • Jason Dubowskipeople who walk across the finish line

      April 13 at 10:29pm · · 1 personLoading…
    • Lori Braun ‎@Jason people who walk across the finish line irks you? Suppose they are totally exhausted and if they are not walking, they might drop?

      If Gatorade spilling, etc. is worrisome in Central Park, I feel sorry for those here on NYC Marathon day. The soles of my shoes were filled with clumps of Gatorade by the time I got home.

      @Carl – a person gasping – did you ask the person if he or she was okay?

      April 13 at 10:56pm · · 2 peopleLoading…
    • Louis GonzalezI’m going to take Jason’s point one step further and say the people who immediately stop running 3 inches from the finish is annoying and unsafe.

      April 13 at 11:06pm ·
    • Gal Cohen ‎@Lori, I think what Jason means is when people get to the finish line and then just stop. Its a problem at the front and the back of the pack but more noticable at the back since it gets worse the more people cross the finish line.
      @Carl, not everybody is on the same level, I think its commendable that they are pushing themselves to the point of gasping at a race.

      April 13 at 11:12pm ·
    • Dahlia Yoeli

      There are a lot of interesting points made here. I don’t have a problem with a person walking across the finish line unless they suddenly stop running shortly beforehand without looking to see if someone is behind them. That would be unsafe…. I think that I-Pods could be potentially dangerous if the wearer isn’t paying attention to their surroundings or can’t hear the race announcement, but otherwise it shouldn’t be a big deal in my opinion.See More
      April 13 at 11:24pm ·
    • Jason Dubowskireally I am talking about people who ‘shut it down’ too early and either drastically slow down before the timing mats or those that jump on the mats and stop completely

      April 13 at 11:27pm ·
    • Gal Cohen‎@Jason, I knew thats what you meant. VERY frustrating.

      April 13 at 11:43pm ·
    • Janet GottliebAny “old timers” out there? We were in the habit of keeping moving because, before passive timing devices, racers walked, in order, to the end of an exit chute to either have their number written down or to give a “stub” from the bottom of the bib to someone who would put it on a spike, to establish finish order.

      April 14 at 6:17am ·
    • John CorporonI still run in a lot of “old time” races, which brings up another peeve of mine, passing in the exit chute. I’ll cut the inexperienced runner some slack, but I have issues with the ones who don’t pay attention or don’t seem to care.

      April 14 at 7:22am ·
    • Lori Braun‎@Janet, hate to say it, I do not think anyone on these boards has an idea what the club had to do before timing devices, etc. Less whiners back then for sure.

      April 14 at 12:27pm · · 1 personLoading…
    • Louis Gonzalezless runners too I bet

      April 14 at 12:35pm ·
    • Joe Garland

      The pre-electronic marathon had 3 independent finish lines. Each had 4 chutes (12 in total) and one timer. The chutes were about 20 yards past the finish. A rope was between lanes 2 and 3. It was held to one side or the other at the finish …so runners went either to 1/2 or 3/4. If 1 was used, tape blocked access to 2. When 1 looked to be getting backed-up, the rope man would dash across the finish to send the runners to lane 3. The tape was moved from 2 to 1 so when the rope went back, the runners went down chute 2. Etc. It was all designed so that the 100th person who crossed that finish line was the 100th person at the end of the chute, where volunteers took a strip from the number, which eventually had bar codes on them, and put it on a spindle. I was the rope man on one of lanes in the 1982 marathon.See More
      April 14 at 2:02pm · · 1 personLoading…
    • Joe GarlandThe five-miler the week before the marathon was then called the “Computer Run.” This was so the marathon finish process could be tested. The key was that the densest finish point in the five-miler would have volume close to that of the peak period of the marathon itself. And back then too volunteers where telling people to keep moving.

      April 14 at 2:04pm · · 1 person
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