Running tips: Being part of big race day crowds almost as much fun as taking part
- Credit: Nick Butcher
There's little to compare with the joy of crossing the finish line of a race you've trained hard for. But races can be pretty special for spectators too.
My husband and I often sign up for running events together, but sometimes one of us will choose to cheer from the side-lines in support of the other – or be the 'bag carrier' as we like to joke!
Being a part of the crowd on big race days, however, can be an amazing experience and has provided me many vital shots in the arm whenever I've needed some extra motivation to strap on my running shoes.
Head down to watch the next Run Norwich 10k or the Great East Run or whatever your local large event is, and I'd be surprised if by the end of the day you're not inspired to give it a go yourself.
The excitement of the crowds is infectious. London can be a daunting place if you've spent little time there, but on marathon day the city transforms. It feels almost like a carnival with live music, cheering and clapping.
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I've struck up many instant friendships with fellow spectators chatting about where we've travelled from, following the progress of our loved ones on tracking apps together, and swapping places at the barriers so we each have the chance to cheer on our particular runner as they approach. Simply put, these events bring out the best in people.
Get there early enough and there's a chance to see your local area's top club runners or even world-class athletes in action. Greats such as David Weir, Mary Keitany, Mo Farah and Eliud Kipchoge (the new marathon world record holder) have zoomed past within feet of where I've been standing. To witness their speed in which they race to the finish line is awe-inspiring.
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But the best thing is watching the masses go by. Your heart bursts with pride when you pick out your loved one and may be steal a quick hug or a high-five. What you'll also notice about this colourful blur of thousands of runners is that it is made up of people, of all abilities, ages and sizes. There'll be someone you can identify with and I bet you'll be inspired to say 'I can do that too'.