Best Things Seen At a Race

I’ve run a lot of races in my life.  I haven’t counted them all up in quite some time, but I can confidently say I am in triple digits.  Good, bad, and the just weird – I’ve seen it all! Here are some of the best things I’ve seen on a race course over the years.

Sprinklers on a hot day –  Hot races are the worst! (Well, I don’t know. Boston this year may have been the worst. But still, they’re pretty bad!) When I am slugging through the heat, there is nothing better then the sight of a sprinkler to (momentarily) cool you down.  Well nothing better than the finish line, of course.

Spectator signs – This one isn’t original I am sure, but signs are really just the best! Bonus points to the ones that make you laugh – or the ones that are made just for you.

One of the very few times I’ve had a sign made for me!

Friends on an out-and-back course – Ugh, don’t you hate those races where the road just goes on and on and you are thinking “where is is that damn turn-around already?!”  Whenever I see a friendly face in the crowd, it gives me the mental boost I need to keep going.

Character stops – I guess all those years of RunDisney have got to me – I love seeing fun characters on the course!  Disney takes the cake on them, obviously, but I’ve seen a few fun ones in other races over the years.

I can find the characters at non-Disney at my local half marathon weekend!

Fully stocked aid stations – Marathons can really learn from Ironman re: aid stations – those run course stations are a buffet!  You can find everything you could possibly want including water, ice (seriously, all hot races need to get on board with this!), Gatorade, Clif Shot Bloks, pretzels, bananas, de-fizzled coke (works surprisingly well as a last ditch energy shot towards the end of the race!) and even more goodies that I am not even thinking of.  When you are tired and hurting, an aid station can absolutely boost your spirits and give you the push you need!

My husband – Awww, I know.  While I don’t drag my husband to every race, he always comes to the really important ones.   True story: when I saw him on 1st ave during my first marathon in NYC, I definitely had a minor meltdown and told him “this is so much harder then I thought it was going to be!” While thankfully I don’t meltdown every marathon anymore, I still love seeing him out there and supporting me.

Yep, marathons are not always pretty.

The finish line – Okay, okay I know this is a super cheesy one, but there is no sight then seeing that finish line!  I don’t care if it’s your first race or 101th marathon – it just never gets old.

It’s all worth it when you see that finish line!

Tell me, what do you love seeing at a race? I’m linking up with the lovely ladies on Tuesdays on The Run


12 thoughts on “Best Things Seen At a Race

  1. Yes to friends on an out and back. They can really get you going again!

    Unofficial aid stations on marathon courses are awesome. They’ll even stock whiskey or beer. I’ve taken them up on it during some bad races.


  2. I even like when I see strangers who are there for someone else with really unique signs on multiple occasions as they make their way around the course. It’s so uplifting and I’m so appreciative of anyone who stands out there and cheers for hours. 😛 My hubby spectated NYCM from First Avenue as well! Ah the memories!


  3. Like you, I agree the aid stations at ultras need to share their knowledge with marathons. I also like the out & back courses because it’s inspiring seeing the faster ones coming back and I love high-5’ing the ones behind me. Maybe you’ve seen the pic of my hubby cheering for me right before the finish line? I posted it on Insta a few days ago….he was there at my first marathon, and this pic is from my second. I’m thankful to have his support 😉 It’s always awesome to hear your named called out while “en route” to the finish line 😉


  4. I love seeing running and non-running friends as spectators at a race! and I also love seeing all the creativity when people dress up for a race. A giant running male genitals for prostate cancer, a giant beer bottle, a man riding his steed costume… these all make me smile. 🙂



    This is such a fun list! I LOVE when people have sprinklers or a hose out on a hot day…defintiely a favorite!!!


  6. Great post. I also love seeing spectators at a race but this happens on important events. I ran in little towns and we raced “alone” but never mind (and twice I got lost during the path), running is too beautiful.


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