By Ambassador Lindsay McClelland

As we quickly approach race day, there are many things crossing the minds of runners (including myself). From taper and nutrition to goal setting and logistical planning, there’s a ton to consider! For those embarking on their first race, I want to share some race day etiquette tips I’ve learned over my last 10 marathons that’ll help your run go smoother and more fun, too.

  • Don’t cut in line. Trust me, I’ve been there. It’s tempting to cut in line for the restrooms pre-race, but remember, everyone’s in the same boat! Instead, ask others in line politely if they happen to be in a later corral and wouldn’t mind letting you go ahead.
  • Use your own bib. Buying a bib or running under someone else’s name isn’t just bad etiquette, it’s against the rules.  Running with a bib other than your own can also have pretty serious safety implications if anything happens to you along the way.
    • If race organizers find out that a runner has participated with a bib that is not registered to that runner, both the runner and the person to whom the bib is registered will be banned from participating in subsequent Houston Marathon events for a minimum of two years!
  • Don’t be a bandit. In the same vain as the tip above, running as a bandit is against the rules and takes precious resources away from runners who are legitimately entered in the race. Just don’t do it!
  • Pay attention. It’s super easy to get into your own head during a marathon, especially the latter miles. I recommend staying alert as much as possible so you can avoid any hazards on the course (including other runners). If you run with music, keep the volume low or just one earbud in during the race.
  • Be kind. Running is tough, if you have the energy to share a kind or encouraging word with a fellow runner, do it. You don’t have to be chatty the whole race, but sometimes a simple “you’ve got this” can turn someone’s race around.
  • Keep moving. Water stops are typically where runners get most frustrated during races. As tempting as it may be to stop and get your water, don’t. Keep moving and once you get your H20, get out of the way to allow for runners behind you to hydrate, too.
  • Stay to the side. When going through water stops, you’ll likely slow a bit. Try to stay to the side while walking or slowing down to drink. This also applies when you get tired and may need to stretch or walk.
  • Save the social for post-race. Running a marathon is a huge accomplishment, but the right time to celebrate and share on social media is after the race. Avoid texting, Instagramming, or Snap Chatting while on course. Same thing goes for photos, if you run with your phone or GoPro taking the occasional photo is fine as long as it doesn’t interrupt other runners. Stay to the side or take your photos at the start and finish line.
  • Clean up. When you can, throw empty water cups into the garbage. You’ll be helping out the volunteers and creating less debris for runners behind you to get through.
  • Say thanks! Race volunteers work SO HARD. Without them you wouldn’t have a race!

What are your top racing etiquette tips? Share them with us using the #HouMarathon hashtag!

About Lindsay McClelland
Lindsay is a PR and social media professional at MMI Agency in downtown Houston. Making her way to Texas by way of Hawaii, she’s found that trading in her flip flops for cowboy boots isn’t so bad!  While she does miss living in paradise, she’s fallen in love with her new city, its great food and friendly fitness community. Lindsay has run nine marathons and more half marathons than she can count, is a yoga teacher and former collegiate swimmer. One of her favorite things about Houston is the supportive running community, from the competitive training groups to fun social runs. Lindsay’s father is also a runner, last year they trained together and even ran the first 10 miles of the Houston Marathon together! When she’s not running, you can find Lindsay at the yoga studio or planning her wedding!
Twitter – @Lindsaylm
Instagram – @lindsaylm