Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Race Spectators & Support Crew

There's a lot to be said about training and racing (I think that goes without saying from someone who blogs weekly about it).

But one important aspect that I have written very little about to date is the spectator.

What would a race be with no spectators? I can tell you it's not a race I'd want to participate in.

Spectators can make two races on the same course feel different. They create an uplifting and inspirational vibe, often right when I'm feeling far from inspirational.

I may have gotten up early on race day to participate in the race, but those people on the sidelines, they got up early to cheer someone on. They could have stayed in bed. They probably have many things on their to do list. But on that morning, they made their way to the race site, grabbed a cup of their favorite coffee and established camp somewhere along the sidewalk. For the next hour to few hours, they have dedicated and volunteered their time to cheer.

From the Boystown Cheerleaders on the north side to the block party through Pilsen, spectators make every mile of the race different, just like the City we live in. 

They bring along balloons, funny signs and crafty comments. All are a distraction from the task at hand, so I welcome it, well, almost all of it. I have to fight back the urge to correct the guy at mile 20 who tells me I'm "almost there." Almost where? I barely know my name right now, where am I going? Or the ones who give false information about how far to go. I know they're trying to be helpful. But right then, in that moment, it takes everything in me to not correct them.

My Mom has spectated every marathon I have ever run. My Dad and best friend are right behind her. My boyfriend and a list of friends have been a great group of support as I've ran around Chicago in the last five years.

I've never known a marathon to be any other way.

What would it be like to run knowing there was no one out there trying to pick me out of the pack? It's a truly foreign concept, but yet, I'll find out in a few weeks in Washington D. C.

1 comment:

Pete B said...

Great post. The spectators and the support crews are the main attraction of marathoning. Thankfully, they show up to cheer me (and thousands others) which does wonders for my motivation!