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Readers Respond: What are your pet peeves about rude or annoying behavior at races?

Responses: 41


Updated October 18, 2011

For the most part, runners are considerate at road races. But the occasional runner may demonstrate bad behaviors, such as cutting off other runners, taking more than their fair share of food at the end, or even cheating by cutting the course. What bad racing behaviors have you witnessed? Share your pet peeves about rude runners.

Multiple things

1. Stollers are a hazard, especially in a large event. 2. If walkers are allowed (I am one), then it's not a "running" event. If you don't like walkers, then find (or start) an event exclusively for runners. Just because I'm going slower than you doesn't mean I'm working any less hard than you. 3. Most of the large (multiple thousands) events post a "walk right, run left" rule. For some reason, many runners think it's OK to try to weave through the walker's side. It's just as crowded as the runners side. 4. Hang on to your paper water cup (and other trash) until you can put it in a trash can. Or at the very least, toss it well off the course. 5. Sign up using a realistic finish time, so you will be put in an appropriate starting group. If you are a runner, but starting in a slower group with someone, then realize it's going to be a slow start for you, and be patient. Look around and place yourself among those who look like they may go about the same pace as you.
—Guest JKay

Bad Attitudes

I totally DESPISE some of the bad attitudes expressed by the "good" runners. Yes, you're stronger and faster than me. Yes, I start and finish at the back of the pack. Yes, I stay out of the way and be sure to move to the sidelines if I have to stop to tie my shoe. However, I am a human being so snide remarks about the slow pokes who are doing nothing to bother you are completely uncalled for. This especially goes to the runners that laugh when an ambulance goes by and say "That must be for one of those *eyeroll* WALKERS. HAHAHA"
—Guest Erin

Wind Breaking & Taking Turns

The 1st marathon I ran, I settled into a pace & there was a guy that stayed right behind me for the 8 miles over a very windy bridge, using me to break the wind for him. On several occasions, I slowed down a bit (what I thought was kind of the universal signal to switch places & give me a break), but he wouldn't get in front of me, he just slowed down too. I was LIVID at him for "hitching a ride" on me & having me do all the hard work!!
—Guest Angie

Say Thanks!

I try to shout a cheery 'Thank You Marshall' to at least a few of the marshalls on the way round even if I'm a bit knackered. Can't do any harm and they seem to like it.
—Guest RFGB

Stinky runners...

I know we all get sweaty and stinky during our runs, during a recent 5 km, I got stuck early on behind a guy who smelled like he had been wearing the same clothes for a week. It was a hot humid day and made my stomach turn - a few other runners also noticed. The only good thing is it made us speed up to get ahead and out of the tail wind :)
—Guest Mandy

Stroller mommy

I run with my stroller in 5ks all the time and do just fine. I always stay to the right and look behind me before I pass. I paid to be in the race and always follow race rules. If you don't like us stroller pushers, too bad -- we need to get out of the house more then you do.
—Guest Kendy

Don't Stop At Water Stations!

I was running a 30k, and some lady stopped right in front of me at a water station. It's hard to drink water while running -- I get that, but do not stop "completely" in front of thousands of people! I ended up running into the lady and she got very pissed at me. Sorry, lady! It's a race! And being where you were in the pack you should already know that.
—Guest :)smilez


Gheez! After reading all of these pet peeves, I'm nervous for my first 5k. Have to make sure I don't accidentally stop/slow down when getting water, stop to tie my shoe, listen to music too loud, walk if I'm tired. Not sure I can run the whole thing! Hope it's fun because that's kind of the point for me.
—Guest guest 24

Get dressed!

Put a shirt on! That goes for you too ladies, I do not want to see half naked men or sports bras (inevitably with a sag over the strap) when I am racing. Believe it, you ain't all that.

pet pevees

when people spit on my shoe or cut right ahead of me to the finish line when I'm about to step on it.
—Guest Esther


Did the Honolulu Marathon in Dec. Most of the runners definitely needed to take a course in runners' etiquette. They lined the course keeping others from passing but the worst was the constant stopping to take photos of themselves at mileage markers, water stations, scenery, friends..anything that moved. This is the first time I have been at a race where at the start all the runners stopped to take a photo of themselves starting. Very frustrating...very rude. A race I would never recommend.
—Guest frieda

Let us finish, please!!!

I will cheer on faster runners when I am in a down and back race. I am honored to be on the same route with them, really. But, please, I beg, do not go back on the course for a "cool down" run or to look for another runner. I have had people who have finished a race stand right in my way on a busy road while they already finished and were waiting for someone else. This has happened at a half marathon, so needless to say, my legs did not appreciate weaving around them. I might have said something under my breath! I have also had people run their cool down or cut right in front of me to get to their car!!!!! We are all runners. Respect, please.
—Guest Cheryl

Water walkers

The runner behind you is gauging your pace when approaching a water station. This is not a lounge! Keep moving until you pass the the station and stay to the side if you need to walk with your drink. Remember, it's a race! People are "Racing"!
—Guest AairunNYC

Wrong Side of the Road

when the walkers or runners are on the left side of the road, causing the bikers and other runners to dodge and possibly collide. STAY ON ONE SIDE!!
—Guest cathy runner

What's wrong with strollers?

If someone can run in a straight line, why do you care if they have a stroller? Are they required to pay for a babysitter to participate?
—Guest Jimbo

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