Bibs in front and other tips for your first race

I recently attended a race director meeting and came to realize that much of what we know as race directors should be common sense. The world over sees Olympians flying into stadiums garnering the cheers of the crowd. We all notice the runners’ name as it is pasted to the front of their singlet. Why then do people insist on putting their number on their bodies in places other than the front? The biggest offender is the back of the shirt. When was the last time you needed to let someone behind you know who you were? And when were they happy to see you pass them and say, boy I wonder who that was? Better yet, when was the last time the race announcer ran behind you to let the crowd know your name. So, my first bit of advice is two-fold: put your bib on the front of your shirt so that you can let the race announcer know who you are and let the timing chip do its job.

Other tips, in no particular order for your first road race:

  1. Register on-line: this helps the race company assign numbers and know how many supplies they will need for the race.
  2. Look at the map ahead of time: The worst thing for you to do on your first race is get lost in a town that you are unfamiliar with. You will most likely be in a crowd but you never know.
  3. Arrive in a timely manner: most race directors will hold a race for a few people that are registering but many times they won’t. Don’t hold up the race for the many who have done the right thing because you decided to not get their on time.
  4. Be friendly to other runners: the running community can be a close knit group and many races are for worthy causes. The last thing the race needs is a party-pooper.
  5. Dress appropriately: the weather race day can be anything from cool and damp to hot and dry. You need to realize that you will heat up early in the race but on longer races you may cool down. Think about the race and when, where it will be run and know that you can stave off many undesirable consequences by dressing appropriately.
  6. Strollers, dogs, and little runners: the job of the race director and the USATF is to provide as safe an environment as possible for runners and their families. Strollers and pets can put people at risk of injuries. The strollers can put children at risk and dogs can put everybody else at risk. If you are allowed to run with a stroller or a dog, please make sure that you start at the back of the pack and be courteous to other runners.
  7. IPods and other devices: many races do not allow these devices as they again can reduce the safety of the person with the device as well as others in the race. Again, remember that the roads are not usually closed so you need all your senses to complete safely.
  8. One last thing: Have fun…lots of it.