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.
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.
Talk 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.
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.
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
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.