to be annoyed at peoples lack of running race etiquette

(56 Posts)
rookiemater Sat 11-Jan-14 15:46:22

I ran/lumbered a 5k this morning which I enjoyed as I do 2-3 road races per year of varying distances. Now I'm not particularly fast, but I did have a time I was aiming for, which I managed to meet despite the other people I encountered en route.

I know I am being mean spirited, but some of the participants really annoyed me. It is a fantastic effort to complete the race if you are new to running or whatever, but please if you are going to be walking from the very start - as evidenced through lack of running gear and bobbly knitted hat, then start at the back.

Also you get a colour based on the time you think you will take. It's really poor to stand in a faster area as you are holding back those runners.

Equally if you have an injury and aren't able to run, whilst it's great that your partner/friend is supporting you round the course, if you decide to walk slowly two abreast swinging your arms to the side on a tight bit of the course close to the beginning,then you are holding other people up.

Oh and if you are running/walking as a team, again that's fantastic, but you do not need to run/walk all side by side, taking up all the room and stopping people from going past.

Sorry it's a bit of a rant and it is wonderful to see people out, probably as part of their new year resolution to take more exercise, but honestly a bit of consideration would be nice.

Joules68 Sat 11-Jan-14 15:47:39

I agree!!

Was it parkrun?

rookiemater Sat 11-Jan-14 15:49:51

Phew - No it was one of the great Edinburgh race runs, as they are big events they attract a diverse lot of people, which is truly great as it's good for everyone to get exercise, just not if they are in my way !

BraveLilBear Sat 11-Jan-14 15:53:22

Agree x 100!

Nothing winds me up more than the annual city 10k here. It's fab but they have a corporate 'thing' which puts corporate runners at the front regardless of ability. The first 4k are spent weaving around unfit office types who did no training and have started walking or are having an in depth 3-abreast chat. Parts of the course are just 3 metres wide!

If you need to walk or tie a shoelace, get out of the way first please!

louwn Sat 11-Jan-14 16:06:40

Completely agree! Why enter a race if you're going to walk the entire thing (unless promoted as such eg race for life). I have done a few half marathons where I start with people who are supposedly aiming for around 2 hours or so but start walking after a mile! No real point in my mind unless you do some proper training!

Is this the running equivalent of people bunging up the fast lane swimming slowly, doing backstroke at people while splashing wildly, stopping to chat in the lanes and leaving their stuff in lockers without paying for them, so I have nowhere to put my stuff? If it is YWBU not to flamethrower them.

GrumpyInYorkshire Sat 11-Jan-14 16:39:04

BraveLilBear - are you in Leeds by any chance? As I had that experience at the 10k last summer. Utter nightmare. I was going for a time but spent the first half of the race trying to get round a huge group of "corporate" entrants, several of whom were walking three and four abreast and boasting about how hung over they were.

OP, YANBU. This makes me FURIOUS. When I run a half marathon I stand in the sub- two hour category because that's the time I can realistically get. I want to pace myself with similar runners, not end up stuck behind them as they stroll along...

bigbluebus Sat 11-Jan-14 16:39:49

These will no doubt be the same people who park in parent & child or disabled parking spaces when they have no business being there, or go to the under 10 items checkout with loads more than 10 items. Some people just don't have the common sense or ability to consider other people.
If you want to get a good time in a race, however, you would do well to avoid races which are renowned for attracting lots of novices!

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 11-Jan-14 16:44:03


If you are slower than those around you get out of the way!

rookiemater Sat 11-Jan-14 17:29:27

MrsTerryPratchet - when swimming I'm just grateful if the swimmers stay in their blinkin lanes.
At our pool there are two lanes, yes two - one for fast swimmers and one for slow, yet despite this people seem to think it's acceptable to plough lengths up and down the family swim area and tut at my DS and his pal when they are trying to have fun in the - uh lady you know why it's called - the family swim area.

Anyone that's a separate rant for another day!

I'm not an elite runner, anything but - I like big races as I have a fear of being last, which has happened once in a smaller race.

TartyMcTart Sat 11-Jan-14 17:45:28

GrumpyInYorkshire I'm in Leeds and the past few 10k races here have been awful for slow people clogging up the first couple of miles for us (ahem) speedier runners.

However the Abbey Dash in November last year was so much better organised and we all lined up in groups according to the colour of our race numbers which were our anticipated running times. Everyone I set off with ran at a similar speed to me and I even kept alongside most of them for the whole race so we had obviously put our correct times down!

I'm all for a walker, good on you, but start at the back - you're only doing it for fun!

Mumoftwoyoungkids Sat 11-Jan-14 17:50:09


My db did the London marathon a few years ago. Considered his expected time carefully - decided on "Sub 4 hours". Spent the first 2 miles overtaking walkers!

Umm - if you can only run half a mile without stopping you are not going to complete the marathon in sub 4 hours. (Roughly 8 min miles.)

(Db completed in 3 hours 56 minutes.)

BearWithBearWith Sat 11-Jan-14 18:05:01

I hear you Rookie! I ran today's race too and although being a Bupa which can attract novices I'm surprised newbies didn't consider that massive, thankfully extinct,volcano they stuck in the middle of the course.

I hope the rage spurred you on and you got yourself a respectable time smile

Since we may live near each other give me a shout on one of the smaller races and I may solve your coming last problem ;)

Disclaimer- I did wear proper running gear and no bobble hat.

Tailtwister Sat 11-Jan-14 18:09:25

YANBU, I can see how that would be annoying.

I have signed up for a 5K in May and will be as far to the back as I can get! I've just started the couch to 5k programme, so hopefully will be able to run the whole distance by then. I won't be over estimating my expected time though.

Sirzy Sat 11-Jan-14 18:12:21

I have my first 10k run in May (or March if I brave it!) and will be making sure I am in the right area for my very slow speed so as not to slow others down. I would rather wait til everyone else has gone so as not to get in anyone elses way

FanFuckingTastic Sat 11-Jan-14 18:16:55

This title is misleading, I came in expecting chat about casual racism, and actually it is on a subject of running a race. Words are funny things.

BikeRunSki Sat 11-Jan-14 18:17:10

Tarty I have done a fair few 10k events, and thought that the Abbey Dash this winter was one of the best organised. I've done.

BraveLilBear Sat 11-Jan-14 19:26:23

Grumpy and Tarty I'm in Hull now but did the inaugural Leeds JT one.

Love the Hull course and the atmosphere is fab but it's bottleneck city in places! I'm aiming to make my return at this year's - tempted by the York one too (love the city orienteering race - now that's really a challenge dodging shoppers and tourists).

Love parkrun too - people there seem to be able to self sort as well (bonus). Not been for ages though (DS is 5 months). Can't wait to get back in my trainers smile

bigbluebus Sat 11-Jan-14 19:33:04

BraveLilBear. Can't you take DS parkrunning? There are quite a few runners with buggies at our local Park Run - including one runner with a double buggy wonders how the hell that runner managed to push that up the hill, when it took me all my time to get myself up

coco44 Sat 11-Jan-14 19:33:41

A 5k is hardly a proper race though is it?

BikeRunSki Sat 11-Jan-14 19:39:13

That's a bit harsh coco. 5k events are often the first event new runners aim for. For some people it may be the only event they'll ever do, for some it may be the furthest they ever run, for some it may be the start of bigger things, but 5k will be significant to somebody.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Sat 11-Jan-14 19:50:36

5k not a proper race? Tell that to the Olympic committeehmm 5000 metres.......

5k is a great distance because up you can really push the pace if you are a more experienced runner but beginners can tackle it too.

I think race etiquette can be crap at all distances.

Bumply Sat 11-Jan-14 20:05:40

Rookie, I too was in this mornings race.

I saw someone with a shoulder bag, as if they'd gone shopping and ended up unexpectedly taking part in a race.

My issue was in the downhill section where some people put their lives at risk by suddenly stopping and turning round while I was using the advantage of gravity to achieve otherwise impossible (for me) pace. If they'd been directly in front of me I'm not sure I could have stopped in time.

LessMissAbs Sat 11-Jan-14 20:25:19

coco400 A 5k is hardly a proper race though is it?

I think Mo Farah may be surprised to learn that one of his Olympic gold medals was not a proper race!

rookiemater Sat 11-Jan-14 20:28:20

Hello fellow today runners bumply and bearwith. There was also a bloke holding up a tripod and camera, either filming himself or the course for the entire race, fine if he had stayed in place but he kept meandering across the path <grrr>.
I do have to admit though that I did stop on the downhill bit when I realised it was icy blush , oops perhaps I am the badly mannered runner.

Coco44 I sort of see what you mean about the distance - it's been a long time since I did a 5k and I was primarily only doing it as it was a handy venue and date, so I can see that a 5k attracts a varied group of participants. I have done the half kilamathon a couple of times and not encountered this problem - I think the slightly odd distance and it's lack of reputation as a charity raising run, puts people off - plus it's a flatter route.

LessMissAbs Sat 11-Jan-14 20:29:10

Races are full of annoying people:

- that one man who decides he has to beat you because you are a woman, runs next to you and elbows you every few strides then tuts loudly if you give him it back

- the runner who missed out part of the course in a cross country, took a shortcut and "beat" me for 3rd place woman

- the cross woman I beat once by over a minute who came up to me afterwards with her equally cross friend to complain that I had overtaken her!

etc etc don't let them get to you! Focus on your own performance.

YANBU at all. It winds me right up.

LessMissAbs that's outrageous! All of it!

What a stupid thing to say, coco

SomewhereBeyondTheSea Sat 11-Jan-14 20:40:30

This is what stewards are for. I'm a pretty crap runner and I do a few organised 5ks a year, in my experience the main thing that differentiates the good from the 'no way am I doing that again' is the stewarding.
The best ones I've done have had the stewards on the course being ahem voluble at the runners (*strollers) in their vicinity about clearing room for speedier people and not blocking the path. It makes all the difference (and hopefully makes the slow people realise how inconsiderate their behaviour is).

Borntorun25 Sat 11-Jan-14 20:40:59

YANBU, this would drive me mad too. I'm lucky that I live in a relatively low density population area and my favourite races have only had a maximum of 300 runners able to register. I have thought about bigger races but am quite nervous at the thought of thousands of runners all crammed together ( and all needing the toilets at the start grin ). I'm a very mediocre runner but I do like to go for a good personal time in a race and would be fuming if I was stuck behind inconsiderate individuals or groups.

Parkrun is great, and can be very challenging if you really go for it. I also sometimes run it with the DCs and it is lovely how inclusive and welcoming it is.

Normanpriceisnotarolemodel Sat 11-Jan-14 20:44:35

I've made rude comments to people on the startling of HMs before. 'Ooh I hope I'll finish in about 2:15' me 'well why are you standing at the 7 min mile pace starting position then'.
Rude, selfish behaviour.
Less miss, I've had that problem from a male runner too. I made sure he ate my dust.

PiggyPlumPie Sat 11-Jan-14 20:44:54

This may only apply to "slow" runners (i.e. me!)

...the person who sprints to get past you then walks because they are knackered. You plod along and overtake them, so they sprint past you again and then walk. Repeat for 10K.

rookiemater Sat 11-Jan-14 20:45:32

Yes but Lesmissabs - whilst I agree the people you describe were annoying, with the exception of the first elbowing man, they weren't actually impacting on your own race.

It's kind of hard to focus on your own performance when you're trying to keep a rythym up a steep hill, but forced to detour on to the grass because of two non runners taking up the entire narrow path in front of you.

daisychain01 Sat 11-Jan-14 20:46:01

Coco44 sorry but anything 10k or under is known as "eyeballs out, gun to tape" in my club! And definitely a race. Maybe try it and then decide grin. Less about distance, more about intensity

envy <== how I feel after a 5k

10 milers, half marathons that sort of distance, you have sufficient time to get your pace over the first few miles, but the short distances are excrutiating, but for some, they prefer the shorter distances.

Borntorun25 Sat 11-Jan-14 20:47:12

*LessMissAbs] that is jaw dropping! How very dare you overtake someone in a race confused. I do hope you've learnt your lesson grin.

rookiemater Sat 11-Jan-14 20:47:40

Oh yes piggyplum pie - I have had that on the Glasgow half, 3 women side by side, doing occasional running then walking - did I mention there was 3 of them beside each other. I try to keep a steady pace, so had exactly the experience you describe, except also had to squeeze past them in their slow bits - every blinkin time.

daisychain01 Sat 11-Jan-14 20:49:20

I must say, after 20 years of running I havent come up against unfriendly people at races, it all feels very enjoyable, but maybe I have just been lucky.

I hate 5k. I don't get into a decent rhythm until about 2 miles in and then it's almost time to stop. Give me a 10k any time.

hmm Not a proper race. Pfft.

daisychain01 Sat 11-Jan-14 20:50:40

Rookie well done for your race, was lovely weather for it!

daisychain01 Sat 11-Jan-14 20:54:32

Worse race ever for getting boxed in was the Windsor Half because the first 2 miles up to the Monument is a narrow path with grassy banks on either side and bloody hundreds of runners all with elbows sharply pointed outwards. Not good, no P B that day!!

rookiemater Sat 11-Jan-14 20:54:39

Thanks daisychain1 - you're probably a much nicer person than me hence why everyone else seems nice.

Lifeisamarathon Sat 11-Jan-14 20:57:52

All very true points when you are trying to PR. How hard is it get over? I'm not a fast runner and don't feel comfortable knowing people are on my heels(I'd hate to be tripped) so I tend to stay more to one side but do get irritated when I have to continually swerve around people who run side by side as a group or those who go from a nice paced jog to an immediate walk(stop)!

The worst etiquette I've witnessed thus far is seeing children left behind because their adult parent or participating partner decided to keep the running spirit fast and alive! One time a girl who looked to be 11 or 12 tripped and fell and skinned up her knees. I didn't PR that race as I stopped to help her and try to calm her emerging fear which was escalating because she was alone with complete strangers feeling embarrassed and in pain.

Oh, another disgusting habit(mostly in longer distance runs) is the infamous snot rocket. Hello! People are behind you! Disgusting!

cjel Sat 11-Jan-14 21:06:26

When my ds did the great north a few years ago they didn't believe his estimated finish time and gave him a number at the back, he didn't want to go(we are down south so a long way) he said whats the point to end up walking behind the walkers, he is competative and wouldn't have wanted his time to show if he hadn't been able to do his best!!
I rang them and they said if he could bring some evidence of other race times they'd move him up and they didsmile Much better to do it that way than let others guess their times and hold you all up.

daisychain01 Sat 11-Jan-14 21:14:39

Rookie, no not at all, I think you sound lovely. I was referring to some of the comments made, for example people going up to someone after a race and being nark-y that they'd been beaten over the line. I found that shock. I guess if people have done lots of training, they start to get v. competitive and forget it is meant to be fun!

But I get exactly where you are coming from, re positioning at the start to make sure you don't get in the way, it makes good sense and is a lot safer.

daisychain01 Sat 11-Jan-14 21:19:50

OMG Lifeisamarathon, your comment about the snot just reminded me of someone years ago who had a big bushy beard which was not a pretty sight by the end of his race and the blokes in our club gave him the nickname of "Saliva Stew". Urgh

rookiemater Sat 11-Jan-14 21:24:19

Oh I have never come across the snot rocket - that's one blessing at least !

LessMissAbs Sat 11-Jan-14 21:43:27

Rookie maybe you need to start a little further up? I find I run better times when my rhythm is reasonably constant.

Borntorun yes, apparently I should have waited behind her or something so I didn't annoy her by overtaking?

Norman I'm from a track running background (5k is considered really long distance for slower runners if you're a 1500m runner) and believe me, if that man elbowed another man in a male track race, he would have got far worse than a few elbows in his ribs back again!

Most people at races are really nice and friendly, but I find the ones nearer the top end tend towards the most sensible and friendliest. Then you get the men who try to use it as a dating site and try to engage you in detailed conversation because they ran roughly the same time as you. I once had a man who heard me ask me where the toilets were who then looked me up on the internet and sent me several messages, the last of which was "I'd like to run a sub 40 minute 10k but I'm not sure whether this body's up to it" - I didn't even bother with a polite reply to that one!

Knottingley Sat 11-Jan-14 22:00:35

I ran 5k XC in the county champs today. Not a proper race? You'd be hard pressed to find anything much more competitive.

The worst are the women (and it is usually women I'm afraid) who start too far forward and then run three abreast chatting. How can you race and chat?!

I avoid all the big events now. Small local races organised by running clubs are far better. Cheaper, friendlier, less hanging about at the start and you actually get to run (no you won't come last, even if you're not a club runner, there are still runners of all abilities and there's usually an wizened old club runner in his 70/80s who comes last just for the fun of it)

Daisy, if you're not competitive you're not racing, just running! You might not expect to come first but you're still competing and it matters where you come/who you beat/what your time is blush

GrumpyInYorkshire Sat 11-Jan-14 22:00:49

Coco - don't be so daft. I've run every distance of race up to the 26.2 but it's the 5ks I find the toughest, as I'm incapable of sprinting. In a half, for example, I find my pace, settle down and keep going. But I really struggle over 5k. It's a horrible distance IMO - not really a long distance, but not a sprint - just a tough hybrid!

Also in full agreement with those who praised the Abbey Dash. I got a terrible time in November but loved it - far, far better than the Jane T runs or the Bupa 10ks.

Bumply Sat 11-Jan-14 22:19:57

Yy to club races being better if you find the ones with the odd die hard who's slower than me. I've come second to last In a few with s

Knottingley Sat 11-Jan-14 22:21:47

Doesn't matter anyway Bumply. The last finisher is the hero IMO, it's much harder to turn up and come last than it is to win.

Bumply Sat 11-Jan-14 22:22:29

Someone in their 70s coming in last (ignoring the ones older than me that did beat me...)
I don't do fun run 5ks as they're just not fun for me, but I like the winter run as it's a good start to my racing calendar.

Bumply Sat 11-Jan-14 22:24:05

Oh, I did come last in the Hunters Bog Trot (twice up Arthur's seat - the actual hilly bit, not on the road) and got a round of applause for finishing.

rookiemater Sat 11-Jan-14 22:34:48

Well done Bumply - I couldn't do that, so even coming last you're a lot better than me.

I like the relative anomynity of a big run I have to say and I guess having some people who don't know how to behave in a race is the downside of that.LessMissabs - I wouldn't want to be closer to the front, I'm certainly not fast and I am in the area appropriate for a realistic time for me, unfortunately not all follow this convention.

Anyway next race is the half kilamathon - I can't remember any irritations like that at it as it's a nice wide flat run.

PiggyPlumPie Sat 11-Jan-14 22:53:54

I used to quite often get beaten by a man with one leg!

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