The Rules for Marathon Cheering

I am well-known among my family, friends and the running community at large as being one of the loudest, most enthusiastic cheerleaders. I cheer for everyone. I love cheering. No one is spared the embarrassment of getting a shout-out from me, should they happen to run by. I am especially bananas during the New York City Marathon, which happens to be JUST AROUND THE CORNER! I lose my voice on Marathon Sunday. Always.

We’ve talked about how cheering can be inspiring for your own running, right? Well, with all of the marathons in the upcoming weeks, there will be a lot of opportunities for you to get out and cheer on your fellow runners. Trust me, you need to get out there and watch people run their hearts out. It’s awe-inspiring. There is always “that guy” who has a FREE HUGS poster and “those runners” who take him up on it. So fun.

But there are rules.

#1. Cheer for everyone. Yes, you are probably out there to cheer on your one/ten friends, but there are lots of other runners who could use your smile, clapping and cheering. And since you’re already there, you may as well offer support to them, too.

#2. Do NOT yell “You’re almost there.” Unless you can see the finish line, they are NOT “almost there” and this will make them angry, not inspired.

#3. Do NOT say “Go faster!” They are going as fast as they can, I promise. No one wants to be out there any longer than they absolutely have to be and telling them to hurry up isn’t helping.

#4. Tell everyone “You look/are doing great!”. Even if they don’t look and aren’t doing so great. Encouragement, even from perfect strangers, goes a long way during a marathon.

#5. Don’t crowd the course. This one is SO important for those of you who want to be on 5th Avenue in Manhattan during the New York City Marathon. If you step out onto the course and crowd the runners, you can cause a funnel that causes a backup on the course. No bueno. Stay on the sidewalk, behind the lines and barricades. The runners will appreciate it.

For those of you who have a marathon nearby in the next couple of weeks, step outside and cheer on those remarkable individuals who’ve decided that they are going to take on the challenge of 26.2 miles, some of them against incredible odds or for very noble causes. They will smile at you, shout back, thank you, hug you, hit on you, ask you for booze and otherwise love that you are cheering for them.

If you want to come out and cheer during the New York City Marathon and don’t have a spot already, consider joining our luluelmon athletica crew up on 125th St. & 5th Ave. We will have a DJ and loads of enthusiastic people cheering like wild banshees. I will have two cowbells, per usual. And if you’re in Philadelphia during the Philly Marathon, look for me and JB. I will have my name on my shirt because I love when people shout, “Go Abby!” We know no one in the city and will need all the cheerleaders we can get!

Regardless, get out there and cheer. It’s the best gift you can give your runner friend/family member/significant other. Everyone needs a cheerleader.

Now go out and run!