Maybe it’s the endorphins, but in general, runners are typically a pretty friendly bunch. They’ll give you advice on gear and routes for days, encourage you when you feel like stopping, and cheer madly when you cross the finish line, even if they have no idea who you are.
But they can also get cranky. Really cranky come race day when their fellow runners don’t follow race day etiquette. While each race has its own official rules, here we’re talking about those unwritten rules that every runner should know, but every race proves there are some who don’t… or worse, just don’t care.
So, while we generally like to keep things positive, we asked some fellow runners to vent about the things other runners do during races that annoy them. And they didn’t hold back. Here are the top eight biggest pet peeves runners have when it comes to race day.
Running with a stuffy nose is no fun, but neither is dodging flying snot. If you must blow, make sure you’re far from your fellow runners or keep a tissue handy. It should go without saying that this goes for spitting too (but we’re going to say it anyway).
Races are one of the few places it’s okay to throw your trash on the ground, but that doesn’t mean you can throw it anywhere, anytime. While you can’t always hit the trashcan, at least make sure you’re not hurling it directly into the path of other runners behind you. The same goes for gel wrappers and other nutritional trash. Don’t just toss them like they’re hot any old place. It’s rude, and more so, it’s dangerous.
Cemented to Your Squad
We all love our running buddies, but running side-by-side with your squad of three, four or more creates a major roadblock for runners behind you. Break it up, and find each other at the finish line.
“Can You Hear Me?”
It’s hard to think of many circumstances that would necessitate a phone call mid-race, but you’d be surprised how many people you run by who are chattering away LOUDLY on their phones. Mostly, it’s distracting, (“Are you talking to me?”), but it can also be dangerous if they’re not paying attention to the road and others around them.
There’s no shame in walking or even taking a short breather if you must, but, whatever you do, don’t just stop short or slow down drastically in the middle of the road. There are runners right behind you who will have to (hopefully) dodge out of your way, and it can be dangerous. Move to the side.
Likewise, if you want to capture images or video during the race for an awesome Instagram post, great. Just don’t do it from the middle of the road. Other runners’ safety should trump your social media presence.
Yes, we’re runners, and we all sweat. However, do whatever you can to keep your sweat to yourself. Getting unnecessarily close to other runners and sweating on them, or wringing out your sweaty towel and letting the drops fly back on nearby runners is just… eww.
Please Wait for a PortPotty
Runners trots… we get it. However, far too many runners report seeing people stop, squat and go number two during races right alongside the race route. While there may be rare (VERY rare cases) where this is the only option (think Paula Radcliffe), most recreational runners should be able to tough it out to the next porta potty.
About That Shirt
So, you’re not actually putting anyone in danger or even grossing them out, but many runners will at least roll their eyes a little if you wear the race shirt during the race. You haven’t officially earned it until you cross the finish line, goes the thinking.
Take this one with a grain of salt though, and if you really want to wear it, wear it (though we would suggest washing and testing out any piece of clothing prior to racing in it). Anyone who cares too much has too much energy on their hands and should burn it off running faster instead of worrying too much about what you’re wearing.
What are your biggest running pet peeves? We’d love to hear about them in the comments. Come on…we know you must have at least one!