What makes a good running event? Is it the organisers and the arrangements? The city? The objective or the cause for which the event is conducted? All these certainly contribute a long way in enhancing the quality of a running event. Ultimately, it is all about the runners. It is the runners who can make or break the event. A running event is an occasion for everyone to share their special moment that celebrates the efforts put in over days and months together. It is this common objective that binds runners together and make running events one of the finest examples of peaceful congregation. While adhering to the stated rules and regulations of the event is a fundamental requisite, there are some additional steps that runners can take to make the event better for themselves and others who participate in the event.
At the start line:
- Most running events have corrals at the start point and runners are grouped based on their past timings. If not, line up yourself in the right position based on your target for the event. Not every one running the event is aiming for the prize positions and hence, need not start at the gun time. Race timing, provided with the help of RFID chip, help in capturing your time from the time you start the event.
- If you have a warm-up routine, find a quiet place to exercise without disturbing other runners.
- Listen to the instructions of the race officials ahead of the event. If there are any last minute route diversions, it will help you to be aware of it.
On the route:
- Your running bibs or numbers must always be pinned to the front of your shirt. This helps in race marshalls to track your progress and respond quickly in case of emergencies. The route is entirely reserved only for runners sporting the running bib.
- Follow the directions provided by the race officials as to which side of the road to be used for running. Remember that the road is shared by runners from different events and there needs to be adequate place for everyone. If no instructions is provided, keep to the extreme left of the road.
- Avoid overtaking on narrow or crowded roads unless necessary. In such cases, call out to the runner in the front well ahead in advance to make way for you. Also, make sure you leave plenty of room before you move across in front of them.
- Do not stop or slow down during the race for any reason. If you would like to stop for taking a walk break, raise your hand to indicate you are slowing down. It helps the runner behind you to Look for the runners behind you and make sure you don’t disturb them. If you would like to communicate to them, raise your hand to indicate that you are stopping.
- Do not walk or run in groups of more than two or three. Walking in larger groups obstructs other participants. Also, avoid walking in the middle of the road.
- According to the rules of IAAF and many other event organisers ban the use of headphones/earphones. If not mentioned, it is advisable to avoid them. If you still like to use them, keep the volume low so that hear the instructions from officials and runners behind you.
Aid Stations / Water stations
- Always choose the farthest point to collect your glass of water/sports drink or any of the refreshments provided. Once collected, leave the station immediately.
- If the aid stations look crowded, wait for your turn to pick up your requirements. Use the time to relax and recharge yourself.
- Try to use the waste bins to dispose the cups or other waste. It helps to keep the route clean for other runners as well as the city post event.
- Thank the volunteers, for it makes the experience pleasant for everyone involved.
Finish line / Finish area
- Once you finish the race, do not stop immediately. Keep walking till you bring your body to normal heart rate.
- Crowding at finish area must be avoided as it affects the functioning of race officials and medical teams to handle emergency. Once you cross the finish area, do not visit the area again as it also affects your event timing.
- Most finish areas are designed for unitary flow of the crowd. Follow the directions provided at the venue for breakfast, medals and exit.
- Medical emergencies
- In case you find someone in trouble, call out the nearest volunteer and inform them. Do not try to attend them on your own (unless you are trained for it) or offer them any assistance. Volunteers are generally briefed on how to handle emergency and they can get in action quickly.
- Adhere to advice of volunteers and medical personnel when asked to quit the event.
Running events are the perfect avenues to celebrate human spirit of oneness and the joy of coming together. It can only get better if each help others and everyone runs together. Make the event special for you and for everyone.
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An edited version of this article appeared in The Hindu, Metro Plus, October 3, 2018