Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How To Be a Complete Jerk at a Race

We've all seen them. Race jerks. Some of us might have other names for them. Anyone who has run a road race knows what I'm talking about. And if you don't, well maybe, you're a race jerk.

A race jerk? That would be a person who is guilty of one or all of the offenses I've listed below. If you've done any or all of these things, it doesn't necessarily make you a jerk. Maybe you've done something once, by accident. Oops! Live and learn right? Did anyone call you out on your behavior? Or did you realize that you crossed a line and became a jerk?

If you do any of these things repeatedly and/or intentionally, that might make you a jerk. We seem to be living in a time of narcissism. Sure, we all want the most of our race experiences. I get that. Life is short and it's all about living to the fullest. Everyone feels this way. Let's run together and make it fun for all.




Or not. If you want to be a complete jerk at a race, here are some of the things you might want to do. I've experienced quite a few of these things at races. Ah, people...



1. Ignore your corral assignment. This is tops on my list of jerky behavior. When I recently ran RnR Chicago, latecomers to the race just poured into my corral (#6). The flow of runners was so bad, the race volunteers had to stop the back of the corral from crossing the start line. I was one step away from that group, which would have meant me missing my cameraman who was expecting me! But my video experience aside, clogging the corrals means that runners who are actually supposed to be there have to weave in and out of slower runners and walkers to get ahead. Yes, it's hard to be patient in a large race. Everyone is anxious to run. But have a little consideration and let everyone go when they are supposed to.

2. Run with a group and spread out across the course. I'm sorry, but this includes pace groups. It is so frustrating to be running your own race and have to try to get around a large group of runners who have fanned out across the road. Recently, Marathon Investigation posted a picture of a group of women holding hands and stretching across the finish line of a marathon. Actually, not just a marathon, but THE Boston Marathon. How fun and what a great photo op! For them, that is. For the runners behind them, not so much.


3. Suck down a GU and toss the packet over your shoulder. Yes, I've been hit by discarded GU packets before. But it's not just GU that's flying. Go ahead and let loose of that hocker in your throat. Blow snot. Spit. It's important to keep your airway clear. Don't mind the poor runner who gets hit by your spew. My husband isn't a runner, but he had a loogie land on his shoulder once at a bar and he's never gotten over it.

4. Along those lines, please pee while you're running. I've run behind women who let it flow and leave puddles for the rest of us to dodge or run through. Clearly, these women have skills that many of us don't possess--I can't even..  But ladies, come on, man!

5. Play your music on speakerphone. A lot of races ban headphones. So don't wear headphones--just play your tunes on your phone speaker so everyone can enjoy! I'm sure that we all have your same taste in music--gangsta rap anyone? Soft 70s rock? Podcast? Is anyone else as annoyed as me about people talking to other people while the phone is on speaker mode?

6. Stop mid-run to take a selfie! What a great photo op! Who cares about the people behind you who have to stop quickly to avoid a collision.


7. National anthem? Nah. Talk away. I was at a race in Florida when a couple behind me was talking loudly during the Star Spangled Banner. A guy in the crowd yelled, "STFU", and a fight broke out. That was a new one for me. Respect, people. And if you can't respect, use that minute to meditate and get your head in race mode.

8. If there's a turnaround, cut it early. I mean, who wants to go all the way around the cone? When I ran Panama City Beach last year, I was aghast when so many people turned around before the cone. Only your Garmin knows, right? That really bothered me.

9. If you see someone struggling, tell them to give up. I mean, really. You, slow poke, huffing, and puffing? Give it up. You're bringing us down.


10. At the finish line, grab as much food as you can. If there's a bag, fill it up. You paid for it, after all! Too bad those runners at the back of the pack are so slow. No food for you.

11. Berate the volunteers for not giving your medal fast enough. What is their problem? Where's the red carpet? The fanfare? You ran a race! You deserve it!

Am I right? It's a race, you paid for your bib, and you deserve the best race experience ever! In all seriousness, the best race experience is being part of the running community. We're all in this together. Don't be a jerk. Let's make a great race for everyone!

You know I was just kidding here. Have you ever experienced any of these jerky behaviors at a race? Have you done any of these things? Is there anything I missed?

I'm linking up with Debbie, Susie, Rachel, and Lora for Coaches' Corner!




74 comments :

  1. Ugh! Look at those runners right behind those women. I would have been cursing up a storm -- if I had any breath left in me. Thank goodness I haven't witnessed on-course peeing, but I've dodged a few loogies. Ick!

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    1. Maybe we've gone too far with the empowering mantras? "Run your own race", etc?

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  2. ALL of these make my blood boil, especially the National Anthem disrespect. There are so many people talking (usually loudly & enthusiastically about the race they're about to run after the Anthem ends) and those last-minute arrivials who are pushing their way towards a faster corral. Yes, lucky for them I have a pretty high tolerance for bad behavior and don't speak my mind (out loud) LOL

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    1. I don't have a high tolerance for jerks--I find that as I grow older, my filter gets thinner...

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  3. I fell victim to snot rockets at only one race. The Madison Half. But lucky me was the beneficiary of 3 of them!!! Wth?!

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  4. Re #3- I cannot tell you how many times someone has thrown a cup of gatorade that landed right on me!

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  5. The stop-mid-run selfie is what kills me, with running while talking on the phone is a close second. Really? When I ran Napa to Sonoma last year, I lost count of the people just stopping in the middle of the course to take multiple selfies--or running the whole course with a selfie stick!!! Yes, the vineyards are beautiful. But how about you move TF over to the side of the road to take those mandatory shots?

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    1. Exactly--move to the side. When we ran Big Sur, the runners were great. No one stopped mid course to take a photo, but there were plenty of runners along the side taking selfies. How could you not?

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  6. That photo of the women crossing the finish line at the Boston Marathon still irritates me - just so rude to the runners behind them! Listening to music on a speak gets me too. I find that to be so incredibly annoying!

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    1. That finish line picture is really the antithesis of what I'm speaking about here. So so so rude.

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  7. The alternative to the music on loud speaker is the person who has their stats on speaker. "You have run x.2 miles; you are running at a X minute pace." I try to speed up and pass them so I don't have to hear.

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    1. Oh my gosh, I've never heard that. How annoying!

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  8. Peeing while running on purpose?? I have never seen that (so far), thankfully!

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    1. I've seen it a few times and trust me, it's never pretty...

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  9. Being pushed by said large pacing group... Do NOT touch me dude.

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    1. Touching another runner is just wrong on so many levels.

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  10. HAHA OMG I LOVE THIS. You're the best. I hate it when people play their music on their speakerphone. Super inconsiderate. My music is all explicit and totally offensive. Imagine if I did that? HA! I got spat on once by someone. So, if you're gonna spit, make a solid effort and aim it off course.

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    1. I loathe everything about the speakerphone--why people feel the need to share their conversations with the world, I don't know.

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  11. Nos. 2, 6, & 10.

    Thankfully I've never seen someone run while peeing, but I guess they don't do that at BOTP!

    Have you really seen someone tell a runner to give up? I hope not!

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    1. I haven't seen someone come out and say it, but I've read really heinous comments on discussion boards from faster runners towards us middle of the packers and the BOTP

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  12. I've seen so many of these. Also, if someone tells you congrats, be the biggest spoilsport and launch into everything that you did wrong. Or sneer and ignore them.

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    1. Right? Accept the compliment graciously!

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  13. You have covered many of my pet peeves. But the peeing? Ew! The National Anthem chatting annoys me so much. And don't forget the people who will shove you to get past you...so unnecessary!

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  14. During the Honolulu Marathon a woman slipped on a GU wrapper (it rained the entire race) she went down HARD. Same marathon, a guy was yelling "photographer ahead," just as I was ready with a smile and a shaka some guy ran across the road right in front of me, jumped and threw out his arms, totally blocking me. My race photos are never great, but really?

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    1. Wow! I should add that one to the list. I bet those race photogs have some good stories.

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  15. So many of these have frustrated me time and time again at races! I think my biggest pet peeve is the runners who spread out and make it impossible to pass.

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  16. I walked hills and a lady who was ahead of me the whole race finished 5 sec. after me. She was in my age group and remarked that it wasn't fair because I walked and that if she knew I was in her age group she would have beat me. JERK!

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    1. WOW! That's a serious JERK! I can't believe the things that people are willing to say to strangers. I would have totally complimented you for being such a fast walker. In fact, let me compliment you now: WOO HOO, Darlene! :)

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    2. That's what I'm talking about... I'm so glad you beat her!

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  17. Nodding my head to all of this!

    I did a race in June, in which a man was running with a stroller, and not only did he have his music in speaker, but in a LOUD speaker under the stroller. I Did not want to hear his music, so I ran faster, but ended up messing my entire pace, because I was not planning on running sub 8 min miles and I paid for it at the end... but I lost him at an uphill. So super rude and annoying!!

    People cutting in front of others to get their photograph, some jerk did that to me at a 10K this spring too!! ugh!! that hateful awful man!

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    1. I was actually going to call out strollers in races but so many races don't allow that anyways.

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  18. This made me laugh!!! Great post.

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  19. HOLD the phone... you've been behind runners who pee while running?! That's TALENT!!!! I wish I could be like them. Hahaha. ;) Also, gross.

    The running 5 wide thing drives me insane...

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    1. I've seen women pee and run multiple times. I do not possess that skill and if I did, I'm not sure I would do that!

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  20. I've seen multiple runners running side by side crossing the finish line and talking during national anthem both which annoy me. Thank goodness I have never encountered anyone relieving themselves on the course!

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    1. I know SBS of Another Mother Runner has admitted to peeing on the run--I think maybe she legitimized it for other women?

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  21. I'd add banditing. I know a lot of races are on public, but all the registrants spent money to sign up for the race. Any argument they want to give me I'll shove back in their face.

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    1. I thought about adding banditing! That is definitely a jerk move.

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  22. So many of these drive me nuts! But telling someone to give up!?! Thankfully I've never seen that. Runners are usually so encouraging.

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  23. During the Chinatown stretch of the Chicago Marathon there was at least one spectator who was smoking near the street. The air during that stretch was barely breathable. Not want you want to deal with at mile 22!

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    1. When I ran RnR Chicago, a spectator was smoking. It was really obnoxious!

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  24. Almost all of these behaviors come down to caring only about yourself. It's just so rude. I think we all like to think of runners as better than this, so it's an extra affront when we realize they can be as bad as anybody else.

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    1. I think these behaviors are a symptom of the times we are living in.

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  25. I've run up behind girls who have peed themselves, but never been there - thank goodness! - for the actual peeing. It's pretty impressive, actually. I mean, I've got a mom bladder, so of course I've accidentally had a little tinkle escape, but full on pee? I'm not coordinated enough for that!
    This was a really great post, Wendy. Your sarcasm is just perfect!

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    1. I'm glad people got my sarcasm. I sure don't want to turn people off!

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  26. I felt you have read my mind, these are seriously all of my pet peeves. Though I thankfully haven't witness women peeing on themselves (ewe) I have seen many guys at a packed in start pee on the shoes of other runners...so gross!
    My only addition is the beeping runners. Those trackers that peep constantly to keep them on pace or beep rapidly when they slow too much... I hate those, the day I let my race be controlled by an annoying beeping watch is the day I'll ask for my own race retirement lol.
    Great fun post!

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    1. I have not seen men pee at the start of a race like that--ewww!

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  27. Oh you have hit SO many good (I mean bad, of course) ones here! The corral assignment is the absolute worst but I've also struggled with more pace groups than I can to remember too. OMG get the F**K out of the way!! They really need to get rid of them in some smaller races, I mean seriously. And yelling at volunteers? That is a new one for me. Totally and completely appalling!!! They are VOLUNTEERING you psycho! Ah, runners. People wonder why we're hated...they need only read this!

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    1. Thankfully the majority of runners are courteous and caring. But the bad behavior is increasing. They say road race participation is lessening--maybe that means some of the jerks will go away?

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  28. I had a peeing lady a few years in front of me at Richmond, it really bugged me, I mean I know you want your best time and all but it was disturbing.
    PCB was too easy for people to cut the course! Ugh...I have only been on a few courses where it was really easy like that. In April I ran a 10K race-there was a cone like that to turn back...I am convinced some of the women ahead me cut at that point because they had been sight most of the race and finished way ahead me...IDK maybe they just really picked up the pace but it looked fishy!

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    1. I've been at a few races where there's a cone turnaround and no one monitoring it. It's sad that they would need someone to watch the runners but that's the way it is now.

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  29. Oh my gosh, do people seriously do 9 and 11? You nailed all of these right on the head. My other great pet peeve is when you pass someone who can't stand getting passed and they cut right back in front of you, only to slow down again. It's like road rage only in a road race. This has happened to me during races and it irritates me so much. That and the groups of runners who spread out and do not let others pass!

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    1. Oh my gosh, I should have added that one too! You are right, it is just like road rage. I often compare driving to running a race!

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  30. What a great post. So many of these things are so extremely annoying. Regarding the peeing while running - I do leak occasionally when I race and I can't control it unfortunately. It just comes out. :-(

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    1. Leaking is ok, as far as I'm concerned. But intentionally letting it flow? Calling out to the people behind you, saying "watch out behind me"? Not so much.

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  31. This is such an awesome post!
    I can't believe people just pee (on purpose) during a race. That is seriously gross...get a grip people!
    I agree with you on the national anthem thing. It bothers me so much when people are talking/don't take their hats off/etc.

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    1. I can't believe the things people do at a race. It's mind boggling. Let's just run, ok?

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  32. Two years ago, at the Peachtree Road Race, I saw people leaving the finish area with BAGS of food. They have the box for finishers along with other goodies from local grocery stores, and people had bags full of peaches (we are in GA) and other snacks. I couldn't believe it! Especially since there are 60,000 people who will finish the race, and we probably had not had even 50% of the runners cross the finish line!

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    1. I've heard of people doing this! People like that are going to ruin it for all of us.

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  33. Yep definitely race jerk behaviors! How bout starting to walk right in front of you or spitting and then hitting the runner behind you......or lying about our pace so you are walking literally right after the race starts.....and so much more!

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    1. I think that is happening more and more--judging by all the weaving I do in my corral!

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  34. The people that can't shut up for the star spangled banner bother me too- I mean, seriously! I also get irritated with walkers that line up at the 9:30 pace, run 15 seconds and then walk......ugh.......

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    1. I just don't understand people anymore!

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  35. Sometimes I like hearing other people's music on speakerphone, but I'd probably never do it myself. lol

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    1. Same with conversations. I don't want to hear it!

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  36. Such a good list! I think I've seen them ALL!

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  37. I think you got them all! Having to listen to country music on someone's phone during a race was one of the most annoying things I've encountered. Well, that and someone's metronome beeping every few seconds. I could't speed up to outrun either runner and I wasn't about to slow down since I was racing... Oh, and once I got hit in the shin by some guy's spit...

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