Running or walking is, at heart, a mildly selfish activity. As you've been training, you've been concentrating on your pace, your route, your hydration, your music playlist, your race goals, your blisters and so on. And that's to be expected.
However, when race day arrives and you're at the starting line, you'll suddenly realize that you're gong to have to interact with thousands of other people for the next few hours. You won't be able to avoid it. So, on race day, it can't just be all about you anymore. At least, not if you want to make it back to the finish line without being called a lot of nasty names by all the other participants you've ticked off along the way.
Doing training runs on your own (or with a small group of similarly-paced clinic buddies) is one thing. But navigating a race course with several thousand other people (many moving at velocities that are probably not the same as yours) is a whole new ball game, if you'll pardon the mixed sports metaphor.
This can be a little intimidating, particularly to someone who hasn't done a race event before. However, learning some basic race etiquette can make the experience less intimidating and more comfortable for any first-time racer and, by extension, for their fellow participants. It really all boils down to common courtesy.
Before we begin our race etiquette tips, here's a special note on the whole headphone issue:
While the GMS Queen City Marathon does not currently ban the use of portable headphone devices (iPods, MP3 players, Walkmans, CD players, etc.), the use of such items is discouraged - for your safety and the safety of others.
You MUST be aware of your surroundings at all times and this includes being able to hear any verbal warnings/instructions from police/course officials...or to the sound of any oncoming vehicles and other participants on the course.
If you choose to wear a portable headphone device during the race, you do so at your own risk and on your own responsibility.
The abuse of portable headphone devices can result in disqualification.
In general guideline terms, "abuse" refers to being so distracted by what you're listening to that you become oblivious to your fellow participants, spectators, course marshals, finish line officials, medical personnel, police personnel or vehicle traffic.
Etiquette before the start of the race.
The City of Regina 42.2K Walk - and ONLY the 42.2K Walk - will start at 7:00 AM, earlier than all the other events:
IMPORTANT: This is NOT an "early start option" for other events. All other events on Race Sunday will start at 8:00 AM and ONLY those participants registered in the 42.2K WALK event will be allowed to start at 7:00 AM.
In the hour leading up to the start, always pay close attention to announcements from the race announcer. Things may change at the last minute and the pre-race announcements are the only way we can communicate that important information to you. Your attention is appreciated and may save you from unnecessary stress and confusion.
Prior to the start of the race, the area around the actual starting line will be OFF-LIMITS to all participants. Please DO NOT hang around the actual starting line and DO NOT cross back and forth across the timing mats. This can cause false times on the timing computers and ruin your official time.
If you brought along a gym bag of clothing and personal items for your post-race use, please check your bag at the BAG DROP tent, where you can reclaim your bag after the race. Check your bag at the Bag Drop tent early - don't wait until the last minute, as you don't want to be standing in the Bag Drop line-up when it's time to line up for the start of the race.
Try and plan your visits to the toilets carefully and well in advance, if you can. As the starting time approaches, there are likely to be big line-ups, so the sooner you act the better! You don’t want to be caught “going” when we say: “Go!”
When you're warming up always consider others nearby. Hundreds of people stretching their arms and legs and running in all directions beforehand can be potentially hazardous so choose your area carefully and watch out for others.
Please remember to check that your race number is pinned to the front of your outfit, so that it will be clearly visible to race officials and photographers.
About 10 minutes before the race begins, our race announcer will call the following participants to the starting line:
- Wheelchair participants (who will have a separate, wheelchair-only start at 7:55 AM, 5 minutes before the main start.)
- 42.2K participants who reasonably expect to finish in under 3 hours
- 21.1K participants who reasonably expect to finish in under 1 hr 30 mins
- All 42.2K participants who are making Boston-qualifying attempts (of any qualifying age group)
If you don't fit into one of these categories (and we trust you to know if you do or don't), please DO NOT crowd up to the front of the starting line.
Look for the Pace Team signs and line up behind the Pace Team member's sign that matches your event and expected finishing time.
All participants in the 21.1K Walk are asked to please assemble at the very rear of the main starting pack, to avoid any runner-versus-walker collisions at the start.
Special Note to Participants in the 21.1K Walk and the City of Regina 42.2K Walk:
- Because it is virtually impossible to police it and ensure that 100% of the walkers are walking 100% of the time throughout 100% of the course, the 21.1K Walk and the City of Regina 42.2K Walk are non-competitive events.
- You will receive separate timing results. However, no overall or age category prizes will be awarded.
- There are no course officials looking to see if you are walking all the way or “cheating” by running for parts of it, so we're leaving it to your honour as to how "true" your official walking finish time will be. Always remember - runners won't mind if you walk, but other walkers will sure mind if you run.
Etiquette during the race.
Please DO NOT allow friends who aren't registered in the event to run/walk/cycle/skateboard/roller-blade/drive alongside you. Not only could it get you disqualified, it is unfair on those who have paid to enter and could also can cause dangerous over-crowding on the course.
Away from the official GMS Queen City Marathon refreshment stations, please use your own best judgement when accepting food and drink from strangers along the course.
While it's great when spectators want to support our participants, the GMS Queen City Marathon does not assume any responsibility for anyone handing out food or liquids on the course other than at our official refreshment stations.
Always be aware of your surroundings, including any unexpected traffic, announcements or warnings made by GMS Queen City Marathon officials or instructions issued by the Regina City Police members assisting with traffic control.
Always be aware of those behind you who might be trying to get past. Don't run or walk lined up across the width of the course. Try to be in single file as much as possible. If you hear someone trying to get past, move aside as soon as you can and let him or her go.
If you are attempting to pass a slower runner or walker, please call out “passing on your left” or “passing on your right”, so that the person ahead of you is aware you are going to pass, and also knows on what side you will be overtaking them.
When you overtake someone, don't cut straight in front of them. Give it a few meters before you try and take your original line. Similarly, do your best to let faster runners get past you. This is especially true for walkers being overtaken by runners. Please be courteous, move over if you have to and let them have the quickest way past. We're all out for a fun time and a good experience, and courtesy and patience make everything go a little smoother for all.
There will be some spots on the course where the slower-paced, outward-bound runners and walkers will meet the faster-paced, inward-bound runners – including the lead runners and their pace cyclists. When you see the lead cyclists and lead runners heading towards you, please be courteous and give them room to move past you. Please give them a cheer and some applause, too, because someday you will be leading the marathon and you’ll want the other runners to cheer you on, right?
Please don't stop suddenly in the middle of the race course!
That’s a sure way to get into a big pile of scraped and bruised runners. If you feel you need to tighten your shoelaces, or you've got a stone in your shoe, or you dropped your water bottle or whatever, move across to the side of the road first and take whatever action is needed. Chaos will result if you suddenly stop without warning!
Refreshment station etiquette.
Refreshment stations are often the place where most damage can be done. Don't suddenly veer in front of another runner or walker to grab a cup of water or Gatorade. Take your turn and remember that often the far end of the station will be less crowded. Don't take more than you need and remember there will probably be plenty of people behind you whose requirements may be greater than yours.
As you approach a refreshment station, the refreshment station volunteers will be calling out “water!” and “gatorade!” and, at some stations, “gels!”
It’s very helpful to both you and the refreshment station volunteers if you catch the eye of one particular refreshment station volunteer. Point to them. If you can get enough breath to talk, say: “I’m coming to you.” Let them know by your body language that you are coming directly to them to get your water or gatorade or gel. That way, the volunteers will be prepared to pass you your drink, and therefore reduce the chances of giving you an accidental gatorade shower.
As you're leaving an refreshment station, don't just drop your cup on the ground where it could be tripped over by another runner. Toss it to the side of the road or path – or, if garbage containers are available, toss it in the bin.
If you're in need of a toilet while at an refreshment station or relay exchange point, please remember not to line up in the way of other runners.
Speaking of having to go to the bathroom, please remember that you are running through public parks and streets. Please treat those parks and neighbourhoods as if they were your own. Please use the portable toilets. This note is not meant to insult your intelligence or hygiene, but trust us when we say that we wouldn’t need to put this information in here if not for some previous experiences that reflected poorly on our event and our participants.
Please obey instructions given to you by police officers, medical personnel and course marshals throughout the race.
Although you might not always agree with them, they are there to look after your safety. Always be polite and say thanks to them whenever you can. All the course marshals and refreshment station workers are volunteers who have generously given their time for your benefit. They keep the GMS Queen City Marathon – and you – running and walking.
Finish line etiquette.
As you approach the finish line, you may hear a race volunteer or the race announcer reminding the runners to keep to the left side of the course and reminding the walkers to keep to the right side of the course.
Please understand that these reminders are not done out of disrespect for the worthy efforts of our Walk participants. The reason behind it is simply one of safety.
As you approach the finish line, and immediately afterwards, please follow the instructions of the race announcer and the finish line volunteers. If you feel faint or ill, tell a finish line volunteer immediately so that our medical personnel can attend to you.
When you cross the finish line, don’t come to a sudden stop, because you’ll probably get run over by the person coming up behind you. Keep walking and head towards the volunteers who will give you your medal.
Throughout your day with us, please remember to thank those who have given their time to make the day a successful one. A few well-chosen words of well-deserved praise can make all the difference to volunteers who may have been doing the same job for eight hours or more, helping you reach your race-day goal.
For EMS safety reasons, you MUST exit the finish line area as quickly as possible, and wait for any friends or family in the main infield area.
Friends, family and previously-finished participants are NOT allowed to loiter in the finish-line area.
As is the case from the start of your day at the GMS Queen City Marathon to the end, please don't leave any rubbish lying around the Start/Finish area. It's always a huge job to get the venue back to its pre-race state and you can help us by either putting your trash in the bins provided or take everything home with you.
And most importantly, as you approach the finish line you may be feeling and looking like something the cat coughed up, but paste on a GREAT BIG SMILE, because there’s a photographer there to catch your Big Finish!
Special Note to Relay Teams:
Some teams like to regroup near the finish line and run across the finish line together. We currently allow this practice, BUT your team must not block or interfere with any other participants as they approach or cross the finish line. You must allow individual runners to go past and then, once your team has crossed the timing mats, please clear the finish line area quickly because runners may be coming up right behind you.
There is a spot on the course about 300 meters from the finish line as you cross Broad Street that is a pretty good spot for teammates to wait for the final member of their team. Any closer to the finish line than that and things become far too congested between teams and spectators and other runners.