Race/Running Etiquette 101

Whether you have run 1 race or 100, here are just a few things to remember when running a road race, and some apply to training runs as well.  These things are not just for your safety, but for the safety of those around you.  And failure to follow some might just get you disqualified from an event.

  • No baby joggers, dogs, headphones, etc – This is not just because of our insurance liability.  This helps protect you and your fellow runners from injury.  The USATF has banned headphones from some sanctioned competition and thus you can be disqualified if you are caught using them.
  • Line up according to pace – We know everyone wants a good start.  But for everyone’s safety please line up according to your expected race pace.  That ensures everyone has the quickest start possible.  If you plan on running slower than some, please line up behind them.
  • Run in a straight line – Ever been almost tripped by another runner who cuts across your path?  Please, don’t do it yourself.  Avoid sudden changes in direction as well as sudden stops.  And be careful at corners along the race course.
  • Put trash where it belongs – In a race or on a training run please leave energy gels wrappers and other trash at an aid station or place in a trash can.  Throwing them on the side of the road is a good way to get our races banned from city streets, not mention it is just bad manners.
  • Be mindful of your dog – While dogs are not allowed in races many folks do enjoy their company on a training run.  If you run with your pooch please pick-up after them and keep them on a leash.  Not only are these habits good etiquette, they are the law in many places including the Land Trust and Monte Sano State Park trails.
  • Place race numbers on front of jersey – Race numbers need to be readable by race personnel for timing and scoring.  Numbers placed on shorts become wrinkled and folded and difficult to read.  Even if the race is being scored by timing chips or barcode pull tabs, other volunteers are trying to read your race number for verification and/or in case the primary system fails.
  • Inside lanes on the track are for faster runners – Doing speedwork at the local track?  If so please move to an outside lane if faster runners approach from the rear and anytime you are walking.
  • Thank race directors and other volunteers – Want to be able to run more races?  Better thank those putting on the events.  While they don’t expect to be thanked, you really do owe them an expression of your gratitude.  Same goes for the city, sponsors, etc. who contribute to the event.
  • Volunteer to work a race – Don’t be one of those people who always takes without ever giving.  Lot’s of people have volunteered their time so you could run.  Now you give some time so others can enjoy an event.
  • Use proper etiquette on the trails as well – Typically runners going uphill have the right of way.  If a faster runner approaches from the rear try to get to the side of trail (if safe to do so) and let them pass.  Mountain bikers should yield to runners but that won’t always happen.  If a mountain biker is struggling uphill it might be nice to give them the trail.  And just as on the roads, don’t leave trash behind.