Leave no runner behind!!!
I’m really talking about the runners during a race! Yes we have group runs and when you run as a group you try to not to leave anyone behind but I’m looking at races.
Specifically the local 5K’s and 10K’s that are locally. Usually the party is somewhere else and not near the finish line. Runners will move away from the finish line and go get their beer/food somewhere else and not cheer on those who are coming across the finish line.
There is beauty in watching the back of the pack-ers and all runners really. Some individuals are running and do not have someone cheering them on (like family or friends). The back of the pack-ers may get to the finish line and not a single person was there. I was at a race recently and the lady who was in dead last was so worried that the finish line was going to be shut down and there would be no clock. She had a great story about how this was her first year racing and this was only her second 10K out of her 7 races this year. It was so wonderful to go back and run her in the final 3 quarters of a mile of the race with her. Yet, when she finished, no one was there to see her finish but the finish line crew (around 5 people).
All the runners had moved on away from the race. It was relatively sad. Granted, I know people had things to do (get back to families, work, other prior engagements) but the party was a quarter mile away from the finish and not a single runner was there to cheer on the few final people. It made me sad. I have been the race director for a half-marathon and an 8K before…I was there for every finisher and made it even more apparent to be there for the final finishers. So many races I have been to this year, I have been there for the finish…or just the guy that showed up and took random photos of all the runners so they had a photo. I’ve given a lot of my time this year that has not been bragged about it or made it public knowledge.
I’m not perfect and never think I am (I won’t keep a tally of my faults…that’s for anyone who wants to waste time judging.) Yes, I may have made comments that “beer was more important for 900 people than cheering on the final racers” in a recent Facebook post…but it wasn’t to attack anyone because I understand people have busy lives. If anyone was upset, it’s not visually apparent and I’m hoping no one is. My comments reflected being upset that 900 people were at the race and no one was there for the final finishers. There is a problem with that situation.
My wish is for more runners to (if they choose to go get beer, food, massages, pictures to come back) cheer on those final racers! They are out there working so hard and have so many wonderful stories. The final racers should be getting more cheers than the first runners. They work hard and there is such joy watching the final racers! Let them know you are proud of them!!! It’s time for us to think of races (at least the 5K’s and 10K’s) as a group run and stick around for the final races. I love ultras/trail runs where we stick around for the final finishers. Maybe that’s why I write this post.