Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How Not to be an A-hole: A Runner's Guide

I loved running the New York City Marathon, so I don't want the blog that follows to take away from that in any way. However when you're running with 50,000 people for nearly 5 hours, you notice a lot of things. For instance you notice that some people are total inconsiderate jerks. I will say it's a small percentage of people, but the bad behavior stands out. 

Let me start by saying this: unless you are an elite runner or are capable of placing in a marathon, your race is not more precious than anyone else's. Whether your final time is 4 hours or 5, everyone has worked hard. That extra 10 minutes you get by being rude to someone really doesn't matter. Everyone out there is doing their best. When you act like a jerk you don't accomplish anything. Don't be that guy or girl. 

Here are some ways to not be an a-hole while running a race:
  • Do not push someone at a water station. Again, unless you're an elite runner many runners walk through water stations. I am one of those runners. I do look around and make sure I'm not stopping abruptly in front of someone. When you run up behind me, put your hand on my lower back and push me forward (which happened twice in New York), you risk losing your hand. Your water stop is not more important than my water stop.
  • Do not stop in the middle of the road to take photos. The view of the New York skyline from the Verrazano-Narrows was amazing. It was also pretty great from the Queensboro Bridge. Some people pulled off to the side to take photos. Lots of people tried to do it while running or stopped in the middle of the race. Don't be that person. You're rude.*
  • Similarly do not use a selfie stick to take photos during the race like one guy beside me did. Even worse he decided to run backward while taking selfies and knocked into about three runners. He's good people.
  • Let's talk about walking. Lots of people walk during races. If you want to walk, look around you to make sure you aren't stopping in front of someone and go to the side to walk. Don't walk 2-3 people across. And for the love of God don't walk before mile one. I saw dozens of runners walking before the first mile. If you are unable to run one mile, perhaps a marathon isn't for you.*
  • If someone is walking in a way that is unobtrusive, let them walk. One guy ran up behind a blind runner with her guides and yelled, "Come on guys! Stop walking!" They were walking on the side and following all of my arbitrary rules above. If people want to walk that's fine. Yelling at them for walking appropriately isn't nice.
  • Ah bathroom stops. I had two of them. The lines for the bathrooms were long. People don't want to lose time, but it's a necessary evil. When I'm in the bathroom and you're outside yelling, "Hurry up people in the bathrooms!" you're not helping yourself. First off I have Crohn's. I am 100 percent positive that your bathroom emergency is not worse than mine. Second off it's not like we're all sitting in there reading magazines and taking our time. We're all losing time. We're hurrying. Shut it and wait your turn.
  • If you plan to throw a water cup that is not empty or spit please, for the love of God, look around first.*
  • New York had great crowds. There was lots of music. If you listened to headphones you should be ashamed of yourself.*
  • If you start with headphones and decide to no longer listen to them, please secure them so they aren't flying around your armband and hitting someone (ahem me).
  • Nobody else wants to listen to your music. So if you're listening to your phone on speaker or loudly screaming/singing Adele's "Someone Like You", you're a running a-hole.
Most runners were appropriate, courteous, and really enjoying the race. I loved those people. The rest...well...they just can't help themselves. Use common sense. If you're running a race, be cognizant that there are people around you. Their race is just as important as yours. Smile at them and say excuse me if you commit a running faux pas. I promise they'll forgive you.

*These behaviors are included in the NYRR Code of Conduct. See! These aren't just my arbitrary rules. They're smart!   

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