If you're new to running in road races, you may not be familiar with some of the rules – both stated and unwritten. While many veteran runners love to see new runners joining the sport, they have pet peeves about inconsiderate behavior from other runners. To avoid annoying fellow runners (and prevent looking like a newbie), be sure to follow these etiquette guidelines when participating in races:
Pay for Your Spot
Running in a race you haven't entered, also called "banditing", is not fair to race organizers, volunteers, and especially the people who have paid to participate. It's also unsafe, since race organizers plan their course amenities, such as water and sports drinks, and medical assistance based on the number of people who have signed up for the race. And overcrowded race conditions can lead to falls and other problems.
More: Can I Run in a Race I Didn't Register For?
Line Up Properly
Don't carry loose change or a set of keys in your pocket. Although it may not bother you, the constant jingling can be really annoying to those who are running near you.
Don't Take Up the Whole Road
Show Appreciation to Volunteers
Use Caution When Wearing Headphones
Yes, most races allow runners to listen to music (as long as they're not competing for a prize), and a lot of runners can't run without their music. But, for your and other runners' safety, you should make sure you can still hear what happening around you. Keep the volume low or run with one earbud out so you can hear instructions from race officials and warnings (i.e., "on your left") from other runners during the race.
Thank Supporters, Too
Acknowledge race spectators who cheer for you as you pass them. If you're too tired to say "thanks," show them a smile, wave, or give them a thumbs up. It will make them feel good and encourage them to keep rooting for others.
Be Careful at Water Stations
Keep Moving at the Finish
Don't immediately stop at the finish line or in the chute. There will be runners coming in right behind you, so keep going until it's safe to come to a stop.
Also see: Finish Line Tips
Don't Be a GluttonDon't take more than your fair share of food and drinks at the finish line. The back of the pack runners will appreciate it when there are still enough goodies for them at the end.
Runners' Top Pet Peeves