Five Reasons To Cheer On Marathon Runners

I’ve been running for 14 years, but I’d never spectated at a race until last weekend. Now that I’ve done it, I definitely will be doing it again. In case you’re wondering why you should give up a few precious weekend hours to cheer on marathon runners, here are my top five reasons.

Cheer A Marathon
1. Guilt. The main reason I committed to joining my Moms Run This Town group’s Marine Corps Marathon cheer station was guilt. When I am racing, crowd support means a lot to me. Bring on the cowbells! I knew it was past time for me to give back to the running community and support other runners.

2. Inspiration. The moment I saw the first runners, my heart swelled and tears came to my eyes. We were between miles 22 and 23, so every runner was pushing their limits at that point. I was inspired by runners holding a steady pace. I was inspired by runners pushing through pain. I was inspired by runners able to return our cheers with a smile.

Ainsley's AngelsTalk about inspiring! Ainsley’s Angels pairs runners with athlete-riders “to ensure that everyone can experience endurance events, and build awareness about America’s special needs community through inclusion in all aspects of life.”

3. Friends. I had so many friends running this race and it was so exciting to track their progress, watch for them, and cheer them on! The MCM App had a great tracking feature that gave live tracking information on multiple runners at the same time. It really hleped me be on the lookout for the right friends at the right time. 


I wasn’t able to get pictures of everyone, but I did get some good ones of Sue, Courtney, and Erika.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And congrats to Cynthia and Mar for their fantastic showings at the MCM 10K!

4. Altruism. The women who spearheaded the cheer station had asked runners what they might want/need for the last leg of the marathon, and stocked up on water, Gatorade, pretzels, gummi bears, and other snacks. It felt good to make someone smile, and felt even better to be able to offer a much-needed snack or drink. 

MRTT MCM Cheer Station

5. Community. There was no question that we would stay until the last member of our Moms Run This Town group came by, but even after we cheered her coming and going along the out-and-back section of the course, we hesitated to leave while others were still on the course. We understand how hard it can be to be a “back of the pack” runner, and we didn’t want to turn our backs on anyone. We ended up staying for the very last runner, and were impressed by her positive attitude and determination to finish on her feet.

MCM Straggler Bus

MCM Straggler Bus

If you haven’t already spectated at a race–or if it’s been a while–I hope I’ve convinced you to do it. To get the most out of it, recruit a few friends to join you, let any friends running know where you’ll be so they can watch for you, and bring snacks/drinks to hand out if you can. Oh, and don’t forget the cowbells! 

This Friday Five post is doing double duty as a runfession, since it took me so long to give back to the running community in this important way.


This entry was posted in Fitness and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Five Reasons To Cheer On Marathon Runners

  1. Kelli says:

    Glad you got out there to volunteer. I felt the same when I was doing cyclist course support and ended up riding the last 5K of a half marathon over and over until I met up with the volunteer escorting the final runner. I don’t know how many of them appreciated my works of encouragement, but I know I’ve appreciated it from other total strangers in the last part of a race. Happy Friday!
    Kelli recently posted…Run-fessions after a running hiatus…My Profile

  2. Susan says:

    Isn’t it a great experience? I was out there at Mile 18 and had so much fun! It feels nice to be able to give back to other runners. I try to volunteer at a race periodically too. When I can, in shorter races, I also go back for some of the pack of the backers. Sometimes I just cheer and sometimes I jump in and run with them. I’m always inspired by people giving it their all whether that’s at the front or the back of a race.

  3. I have volunteered at expos and such but I have never cheered at a race! I keep saying I need to do that- I love your reasons! How awesome that all stayed until the last runner- I am sure they really appreciated it!

    Thanks for the reminder that I need to give back to the running community in other ways.

  4. Kim Westrich says:

    thank you for coming out to cheer! It gave me a happy boost to see you out there in crystal city πŸ™‚
    Kim Westrich recently posted…Marine Corps Marathon RecapMy Profile

  5. Yikes…the straggler bus! I never knew about that beat the bridge thing until I read about it on Artney’s blog. Makes me kind of sad, but I know they have to cut off the race somewhere!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Runfessions: Hold on to that feelin’My Profile

  6. It sure has been awhile since I have spectated at a race! I am definitely overdue. You are right, there is so much inspiration out there to see!
    Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Runfessions!My Profile

  7. Marcia says:

    I like to get down into the city and spectate Chicago as much as I can because it really is so meaningful to the runners. It’s so much fun to have a whole checklist of friends to watch for too. It won’t be easy logistically, but it’s my goal to stakeout in those tough later miles the next time I do. Mmmmm Snickers! Thanks for linking up!
    Marcia recently posted…Runfession Friday: Post-Marathon HazeMy Profile

  8. Chaitali says:

    I spectated and cheered at last year’s MCM and it was such an inspiring experience. I really loved doing it and look forward to doing it again. That’s awesome that you guys stayed until the last runner on the course went by.
    Chaitali recently posted…Friday 5 – motivational running songsMy Profile

  9. Awesome list. I always want to cheer more than I do, though when I can I do. Even though I’m slow, I like to also stay at least at the end to cheer others after me, as I’ve gotten to be a little further ahead of the last.

    I cheered at the full marathon when I ran the half at Disney which was fun. I really want to cheer at MCM one year, but wasn’t around to do so this year.
    John @ run. geek. run(disney) recently posted…Why to Apply to be a BibRave Pro | #FridayFiveMy Profile

  10. It is SO much fun to spectate at a race. Earlier this year I spectated at the Broad Street for the first time – that was a great experience. Tomorrow the RnR Philly is happening but I don’t think I’ll be able to watch this go-round. That’s awesome you all stayed for the very last runner!
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…Runfessions – October 2015My Profile

  11. It is fun to be on the other side of the race sometimes spectating and volunteering. I am sure all of your friends appreciated seeing you there for extra support. Have a great weekend
    Deborah Brooks @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…House of Steep-RX For Tired FeetMy Profile

  12. I love spectating races. It’s my favorite! Thank you SO much for being out there – it meant the world πŸ™‚
    courtney @ eat pray run dc recently posted…Five Things To Love about the Marine Corps MarathonMy Profile

  13. Spectating first is what inspired me to start running races myself! It was just so inspiring and full of excitement. I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of!

  14. jill conyers says:

    And yet another reason runner friends are the best kind of friends!
    jill conyers recently posted…4 Tips For a Productive To-Do ListMy Profile

  15. HoHo Runs says:

    I’ve seen Ainsley’s Angels before at a race. They are such an inspiration. This looks like a fun experience. I’m glad you chose a spot toward the end where it gets tough. I would want to stay for all the runners as well!
    HoHo Runs recently posted…Five Runfessions (October)My Profile

  16. I love spectating the Paris marathon, I go every year and spend about 2 hours cheering on the runners. Especially all the American ones (the country is printed on their bib). I love the ambiance and I also love it when people cheer on me.
    Karen – Fit in France recently posted…Friday Five : I survived !My Profile

  17. I have stayed to cheer on my fellow BOTPers sometimes (and thank you for staying to do that), but I’ve only spectated one race so far. And it was great! If I had a group to cheer with I’d probably do it more often.

    Thank you for spectating. I always make sure to thank the volunteers, high five the little kids, and thank the few spectators at my smaller races, too.
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…Don’t tell mama my runfessions: can you relate?My Profile

  18. You are right, crowd support is everything! Way to give back and have so much fun at the same time! I know that last runner was happy to see a smiling face! I would love to spectate at a big race like that! I am on the wait list to work the next 2 Disney races, we shall see if I get in!
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…From Bras to Shampoo- October Favorites!My Profile

  19. Laura says:

    Great post! I just volunteered last weekend at our local marathon with my running club. This was my 2nd yr in a row volunteering at the aid station. We always stay till the last runner comes by and they are so inspiring!! Volunteers can definitely make or break a race!!

  20. Love how you stayed all the way until the very last runner. So awesome.
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted…Loving Lately – October 2015My Profile

  21. What a great experience. I volunteered at a half marathon and had such an amazing time. I have a friend whose son raced with Ainsley’s Angels at MCM, I’m sure you saw them. Such a great group. recently posted…BOSU Balance Trainer & BOSU Sport ReviewMy Profile

  22. You guys are the best and I am totally spectating this race next year!!!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…Chocolate Almond Butter Protein Cookies and a Fit Body Bakery GiveawayMy Profile

  23. Jennifer says:

    Aww thanks for spectating! I was so out of it by Crystal City, I probably missed you.
    Jennifer recently posted…2015 Chicago Marathon Race Recap Part 1My Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge