Looking at spectating a running race, supporting one of your loved ones, or just watching the local running events? Want to know the best ways to support, and the ways to avoid being a bad spectator on race day. 


1. Positioning

We love having spectators, you guys are the best – just not when you’re stood in the route. We are all up for spectators following the route, tracking competitors and cheering us on, just be careful where you are stood/walking across, and make sure it isn’t in the way of the runners.

The same with if your runner has come past, but others are still going – make sure you aren’t in their way as it’s their race too.


2. Discouraging words

The best thing in the world is when someone shouts your name and tells you to keep going. The worst “run faster”, “try harder”, “I can run faster than you”, “you would be faster if you lost weight” – the heart breaking comments that we’ve all heard at least once in our running careers.

I think it’s better if you cheer with the right words. Phrases like “you’re looking strong”, “great pace”, or “smashing it” are the best ways to do it. Something positive, funny or directly shouting their name is the best way to encourage runners.


3. Smoking

I can’t stop you doing something that is your habit, it’s up to you if you want to smoke. However, when you are 11 miles into a race, your body is run down, you feel a little sick and someone blows smoke in your face – you will not be happy. 

It’s okay, do what you do. Just don’t blow it into the faces of the runners!


4. Inaccurate distances

The amount of times runners have heard “you’re almost there” or “it’s just around the corner” and then you have another 2 miles to go! Or I’ve heard “only (NUMBER) miles left”, when you certainly are not at that distance.

I think it would be best to wait to use numbers if you are directly next to a distance sign, or just use encouraging words instead of numbers!


5. Fellow runners rerunning the route

We get it, you’ve finished your race, it doesn’t mean you need to get in the way of ours. It is amazing that runners have finished, and have obviously finished with an awesome time, but it would be great if the route was clear for the rest of us. If you are a spectator and see runners/walkers in the route, maybe just advise them to step to the side, and say well done to them as well!

A whole bunch of runners just coming out of a start

A busy race, wheres the best place to stand to spectate?


So hopefully some of these tips help. These are not meant to be negative, as having someone to support you/cheer you on really helps you get through that run – but just something to help your runner. Keep spectating, keep encouraging, get that runner to the finish, and have fun!

Want to help out your runners a bit more? Check out this race day prep checklist here!