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

Responses: 51


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. Share Your Stories

GOAL: To Be a Courteous Runner!

I will be running my first race (half marathon) in 6 weeks. I have literally "googled" just about everything about running and what to expect race day. I read ALL of these responses finding each one helpful. Real responses from real runners. Thank you! I have decided to experience the "Race Day" excitement and behaviors by running a 15K beforehand just to work on NOT being a future PET PEEVE. I am NOT looking forward to being the recipient of a "spitter". I think I will throw a couple moist towelettes into my running belt. Thanks for all the insight. All suggestions noted!

More Funny Than Rude

Years ago, I ran 5k and 10k races regularly, for fun and fitness. I usually came in around the end of the first pack, sometimes the beginning of the second pack. One race, I had been out of practice and was taking it easy. Another runner joined me and we chatted amiably during the race (we were in the middle pack). We were still chatting as the finish line appeared. Twenty yards from the finish, when I was in the middle of saying something, the other fellow took off in a dead sprint and threw his arms up victoriously as he crossed the finish line, as if he had just won the Olympics. hahahahahahahahaha oh, brother
—Guest Kenneth

You gotta be kidding me!

I came on here to read about running etiquette as I've never run an organized race before and am thinking about doing a 5K this summer, and I just can't believe the petty complaints by "seasoned" runners. Some are legit, but then you see people griping about having to pass people that are slower...really?! It's a race...passing is part of the game! If you really can't stand other people that much then go buy a stopwatch and run your own race BY YOURSELF...that way you won't be bothered and you can always be the big winner. Congrats.
—Guest no_time_for_your_ego

Just because I'm bigger than you...

I'm 6'3 and I get a lot of little old ladies, 20-something girls and most short men trying to "beat" me to some imaginary place. (Which is usually 2 feet in feet in front of me. And then they slow down so I have to pass). I've run 8 half-marathons this last year (I don't recommend it. It's too much) and I actually like to meet people, chit chat on the course while running and enjoy the runner's high. Be cool. Smile if you can. Other things are: - walkers taking up the road and runners at the same pace blocking the road. - timers beeping. - spitting. I get it. People feel a need to spit. Move to the side and spit. Not where I'm running. - "Pain is just weakness leaving the body," and other signs that really don't help. Save your slogans and just say, "Good job!" Or, "Keep it up!" No philosophies or incorrect mileage info. - Gum. I don't wanna smell it, see it, hear you snap it, step in it, dodge it..


1. People who register their little kids for the 5k/10K and then don't watch them. Don't get me wrong: I think it is WONDERFUL to race with your kids, and that it's never too early for them to learn to enjoy being physically active. However: if your kid doesn't know how to run without shoving people, weaving right in front of them or generally acting rude, please, please keep them in the kids' race until they learn better manners. 2. Dogs on the course. Unless it's a service animal, can you please spend an hour or two without your dog? Some of us are allergic. Some of us are afraid. Some of us just don't want to trip over your dog! This especially goes for people who bring unleashed animals or ones with those super-long leashes. 3. People who have attitudes toward walkers or slow runners in general. If they are at the back of the pack and not bothering you, why all the hate? Not everyone can finish first.
—Guest Dee

First Race Tomorrow

Glad I read this article, and all the comments. Nothing was new or surprising to me except that people would actually "snot" on another person. How gross! Hopefully I line up near other people in my same pace range. Wish me luck! :)
—Guest amk

Remember, it's a race

It's not just faster runners who say that slower runners shouldn't line up in front - it's the RRCA. I have nothing but respect for all finishers, but if you feel it's fair for you to line up in front just because "I was here first," you need to remember that it's a race, not a rock concert. I've been there too - I was a penguin in the beginning - but you couldn't have paid me to line up right in the front of a race and risk being trampled by runners who have been training hard for years and deserve the chance to get a clean start. Now I have been training very hard for 6 years, I usually have a chance at placing and winning prizes, and I respect your chance to run your best race, I just wish you'd respect my chance. This is not "attitude," it is common sense. Play by the rules and we can all have fun. I'll be cheering for you at the finish!
—Guest Mira

Bad attitudes

My biggest pet peeve is dealing with bad attitudes. It's fairly hard for new runners to judge how fast they are if they've never been in a race before. For those of us faster and more fit, look at it as a challenge to get around them rather than a hindrance. It's all in perception. I hear some runners complain frequently about others being too slow and ahead of them. If it is that big of a deal, perhaps a race isn't best suited for you. Attitudes like these ruin it for so many of us who just want to go out and run for the love of the race, rather than the need to impress others!
—Guest Jen

Take a chill pill!

Many runners, perhaps even most, are control freaks, so these comments aren't surprising. What is somewhat surprising to me is how many posters clearly don't like other people, yet choose to run in crowds! If you are irritated by every little thing other people do, why not just buy a stopwatch and run on your own? You can't please all the people and they certainly can't all please you.
—Guest Rob

Slow runners in runner waves.

I was in a half marathon recently, and I was in a 2:30 corral. I weaved though walkers and walk/joggers the entire race. It was very annoying and makes me want to sign up for faster corrals so I don't have to run around others. Yes, they passed me in the first few miles, but I passed most of them by the end.
—Guest Jo Jo

Stroller in the back rule

I hate the strollers in the back rule. I run alot of races and I can't always rely on having a babysitter. He likes to be in his stroller for most of the races anyways. I hate the stroller in the back rule because I RUN and yet I still have to get around ALL the walkers and slow runners. I follow the stroller to the side ettiquette and I always look before I move over. Its too bad that inconsiderate parents ruined it for the few of us (I haven't seen many) who DO act accordingly to other runners.
—Guest Jeanie

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

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