Race Day Etiquette

Published On: October 7th, 2018Categories: Latest News From Marathon HQ

As we draw nearer to Detroit’s Marathon Weekend we’re reminded of just how many people will be joining us Detroit! Over 26,000 runners, walkers and wheelers will be celebrating our 42nd running. However, as with many large races (did you know we are Michigan’s largest race?!), there are a few things everyone should remember!

Whether you’re a seasoned racer or this is your first race, check out the tips below to have your best race (and make sure your neighbors have a great race too)!

  1. If you’re wearing “throw away” clothes at the Start Line and decide to shed layers, please toss them to the side of the road. But, watch where you toss them! No one likes a sweatshirt on top of their head. (P.S. all clothes shed at the Start/Finish Line will be donated to the Fort Street Presbyterian Church’s Open Door Program).
  2. As you’re running or walking on the course, be mindful of others! If you need to start walking or slow down, make your way to the side of the road. Even throw up a hand to signal behind you that you’re changing speed and direction. Collision avoided! This applies to selfies too – make sure you don’t suddenly stop in front of someone!
  3. Look behind you/over your shoulder before you make a move to pass someone. This way, you won’t accidentally step in front of somebody – more collisions avoided!
  4. Not planning on accepting aid at a water station? Keep to the left if the aid station is to the right, keep to the right if the aid station is to the left, or stay in the center if aid stations are on both sides. Even if you’re not accepting aid, slow down as other runners may be stopping, slowing down, or merging back onto the course.
  5. Picking up water at one of our many fluid stations? Make sure you don’t suddenly stop to gulp some water. Head over to the side again!
  6. Speaking of water stations again, watch where you toss that cup when you’re done! There might be someone behind you that wouldn’t appreciate a water or Gatorade shower. And if you’re able, try to dispose of any cups/gel wrappers in trash cans or trash piles. Our volunteers will make sure no litter is left, but any help you can provide is appreciated!
  7.  Aim fluids carefully. When reflecting upon our 2018 survey, quite a few participants had mentioned their fellow runners not being considerate of their surroundings when spitting or blowing. We understand that this might not have a choice when it comes to spitting, blowing their nose, or passing gas but we ask that you do a quick 365 inspection. If you find you need to spit or blow often, might we recommend hugging the curb?
  8. Pass a fellow runner or walker on the course? Encourage them! You never know what impact a kind word or thumbs up might have on their race.
  9. Rocking headphones on race day? Just make sure you are aware of your surroundings and that others can’t hear your music. They might not want the tunes.
  10. Familiarize yourself with the course before race day! It’s your responsibility to know what the course is.
  11. On a Marathon Relay Team? Communicate with each other! Give your team member an estimated time of arrival (ETA, if you want to feel official), so that they can be ready for you at the exchange point instead of napping on a bench or eating a snack.
  12. Thank the race volunteers at every possible opportunity. This event wouldn’t be possible without their invaluable assistance! P.S. they’re pro at high-fives.
  13. Remember to smile and look up as you cross the finish line to get a fantastic finish-line photo! Put your hands up and celebrate crossing that final timing mat! Don’t worry about stopping your Garmin or other GPS watch until you’ve passed the photographer -no one wants to see pictures of you turning off your watch or looking at your stats. (Did you know that all your race photos will be free this year? Even better!)
  14. Crossing that Finish Line with friends? Before you link arms and cross that line in victory, look behind you! There may be a number of people sprinting to the finish line. Try not to block others behind you like in Red Rover.
  15. If you’re running the Full Marathon, International Half-Marathon or Leg 1 of the Marathon Relay, there will be a letter on the bottom right of your bib. That’s your corral letter – make sure you enter that corral! You were assigned that corral based on your pace and the paces of those around you. You can always move down a corral on race day, never up. If you think you need to change your corral (up or down), you can do so at the Information Booth at the Health & Fitness Expo beforehand! (You cannot change your corral on the day of the race).

As Mitch Albom said, “Detroit is a place where we’ve had it pretty tough. But there is a generosity here and a well of kindness that goes deep.” We believe that about our runners as well – every one of you has shown your strength through training and toeing the start line. Together we’ll all have a great race day!