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Why Runners Need Spectators

Here are some of the top reasons why we need you, complete stranger, to cheer for us!

Any runner can tell you that there is something magical about races. The longer they are, the more the magic seems to grow. We have spent hours training, days planning the trip, and weeks anticipating the event. After all of the long training runs, it is exciting to have spectators and fans cheer for us.

The atmosphere of a race is exhilarating in itself. But no matter what distance, what race or who you are, you are certain to encounter a mental obstacle at some point along the course. This is where the magic of spectators and fans comes in. Here are some of the top reasons why we need you, complete stranger, to cheer for us!


You pump us up at the beginning of the race, replenish our motivation in the middle and push us to the finish. No matter where you are on the course, you are very much needed! There is always a runner struggling, either mentally, physically or emotionally at every point on the course. You may just be that magical person who keeps us from quitting. No matter how many family and friends come out to watch us, we depend on the complete strangers to be there when no one else is.

Things might not go as planned.

Maybe our cheering squad had a last-minute change in plans or our family missed the scheduled cheering spot. The spectators are the ones who make up for all of the unexpected letdowns of races. You bring our spirit up when we are discouraged!

RELATED: 10 Things That Could Go Wrong On Race Day

You act as random aid stations.

Gummy bears, wine, beer, lemonade, cookies, flushable bathrooms, cold towels, high fives—a random list but these are all things that runners need to get re-energized. Back-of-the-packers sometimes find that planned aid stations run out of our favorites by the time we get there. But never fear, because a great spectator will be handing out the much needed salty pretzel stick or Dixie cup of water to keep us pushing through.

We cheer for you, too!

Runners love to be supported and to support others. To the Vietnam vet, we want to say thank you. To the hundreds of police officers, we appreciate you—especially the one blaring rock songs out of his cruiser! To the centurion, your spirit is exhilarating. To the volunteers, we value you. As you support us and cheer us on, we feel overwhelmed with love and strive to share that with others. This is what running is all about and why we can’t stop signing up for races!

We know your sacrifice.

You got up at 3 a.m. You stood outside for five hours in the direct sunlight. You rearranged your plans because you are now stuck at home due to the race course being right in front of your house. And you are HUNGRY! We know what you have sacrificed to be here today. That is what makes us similar. As runners, we sacrifice and suffer, yet we enjoy the process. You sacrifice and suffer just as much. You may have come out to cheer on your family member, but we become like a family because you continue to cheer well after your runner has passed. We appreciate your sacrifice, your time and your hunger pains. Let’s all go out for burgers after this madness!

We may pay for the race, earn the medal and enjoy the bananas. But the spectators are the ones who make the race. Thanks to all of you who come out. We love you, random stranger!

RELATED: 4 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer At A Race