I am going to start this blog with my own big shout out to the many people who crowd the sidelines of the race every year to cheer, congratulate and encourage the thousands of runners who pass by. Thank you, thank you!
Again this year, there will be an army of volunteers out on race day forming cheering stations. These groups are supported through the race weekend community spirit fund.
I encourage anyone who is not running in the Tamarack Homes, Ottawa Race Weekend to set up their own little cheering section as I have with my little team of Mom In the Know fans. Here are some useful tips.
Runners love to read signs along the race course to help break the monotony. My all time favourites are: and “You are my Hero Today!”
Bring Noisemakers and Pick an Encouraging Phrase.
Make sure your little cheer team has something to do besides clapping. Fill old pop bottles with pennies, tie racket makers to a stick. The preparation is half of the fun. Teach them to say things like: "Way to run," "You can do it," "Looking strong," "Nice job," "You're flying," or "Looking good."
Be sure that your team can see you on the course and that you can see them.
Tell them in advance what you will be wearing and put your name on your shirt. Tie balloons to your cheer team’s chair so you can see them too.
Plan to wait
Pack your team a picnic lunch. Thyme and Again is a great source for fresh, locally prepared foods. Sure to keep your little team full of energy. Also, plan for the weather. The race goes rain or shine and so does your cheer team. Duck into Trailhead for outdoor gear to keep your dry or cool as the weather dictates. They also have an enormous selection of coolers, water bottles and backpacks to keep you organized in style!
Many large marathons have a variety of great services to help spectators follow their runners. See if the race's web site has a sign-up for a runner tracking system, which can send alerts to cell phones, pagers, or wireless handheld devices.
Have a Finish-Line Plan The finish line area can be crowded and chaotic, so make sure you and your runner have a plan to meet up after he or she crosses the finish line.
Tips for Runners
Don't forget to thank those cheering on the sidelines. I know that you are working hard, but these folks have stood for hours, hollering, clapping and jumping up and down. This is their race too.