The best things I’ve seen at races? Let me name a few. In my running experience, I have been so lucky to have seen some really incredible things on the course. I can only hope to see more fabulous sights in the future.
Fireworks at the start line
Remember the time of gigantic races with all the bells and whistles? Well, RunDisney events sure knew how to do it right. At the start of every corral (and remember, sometimes there were more than 15), the fireworks would explode. I mean, it’s almost a let down to get to a start line and NOT have fireworks now.
In 2014, I ran the local Marine Corps Half Marathon. To be honest, it was one of the hardest races I have ever run. It was hot and humid, with too much sun for an October morning. I struggled the whole time, but what made the race were the crowds of U.S. Marines. They lined the course and the finish line, cheering us on and supporting us, and it was beautiful. In fact, when I started cramping and had to pull off the course to stretch, one of them ran up to me and offered to escort me to the finish line. I declined, but how amazing was that. I have zero photos, because I was focused on the run, but it was so beautiful and inspiring to see.
The Gate River Run 15K is pretty famous for its epic, tailgate-style spectators, and so it should be no surprise that runners are offered some fabulous treats along the 9.3 miles. I’ve enjoyed donut holes, orange slices, popsicles, pickles, sausages, beer, tequila… and Rummy Bears. Yes. That’s. These gummy bears were soaked in alcohol and handed out around the seven mile mark, and I was so here for it.
All the pink for breast cancer
The DONNA Marathon is really something special to behold. At first glance, it’s a great race in support of breast cancer, but if you dig deeper, you find the foundation was started by local celebrity Donna Deegan, herself a four-time survivor. The amount of love this race manifests, for the survivors, and those we lost, for the friends and family who are helping the fight and for those who have been left behind, is truly unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Not only are the runners out, but the spectators show up too, with street after street decked out in pink and love.
Have you ever run on a NASCAR track? It’s really one of the coolest things ever. I’ve had the chance several times, at the Daytona Beach 1/2 Marathon, and while it can be tough to deal with the banking and miles of cement, I would do it again in a heartbeat.
What are some of the best things you’ve seen at races?