A Guide to the People at the Races

As I was getting ready for my most recent race, I got to thinking about the different people you see at a race. It starts with the variety of weirdos that is the collective of runners (seriously, we pay money to run). But you also have the people who are there to ehlp out in one way or another. I thought I’d make a handy little guide in the event that in your exercise-addled brain doesn’t recognize these different folks throughout the day. I make not guarantees for the accuracy of these statements.


The Organizers

These are the people helping out who are stressed. They decided a few months ago, “hey, let’s put on a 5K.” Or maybe they’re the ones that years ago decided to start hosting a marathon. Either way, it’s their butt if things go to the crapper. They’re good people, just not happy people. Not today anyway. You’ll also recognize them by their walkie talkies and/or bullhorns.

And when they have the means, they have a full-blown PA system

The Volunteers

These are the people helping out who are not stressed. They’re just happy to be here at 6 a.m. for no apparent reason. These are also the people who are likely stressing out The Organizers. That said, these folks are here, they’re happy, and they’ll be happy to tell you where the portapotties are.

They also hand out tasty beverages.

The Cops

They’re the ones with flashing lights and guns. They help make sure you don’t get hit by cars.

The Firefighters

They’re the ones with flashing lights and no guns. They also help make sure you don’t get hit by cars and help get the cat of the tree when it slips out of the house.

The Supporters

They’re the chipper people cheering on the side of the road that you want to punch in the face. I mean that in the nicest possible way.


The Runners

Yeah, multiple categories for runners. You knew this would happen.

The Elites

These are the people running sub-20 5Ks (or insert whatever 6-minute or better pace works for your distance. I’m lazy; I run 5Ks). You don’t even hate them. They’re like running gods that us mere mortals should be lucky to be around.

If you get to run across an actual finish line like Meb does, then you are a deity. All hail Meb.

The Very Good/Committed/Should Be Committed

Now, oddly, you do hate the a-holes. These are the ones in the 20 to 25-minute range (or 7 to 8-minute pace). Maybe it’s because you think they should put in that extra little bit of work. Maybe it’s because you can still see them for a good chunk of the race if there aren’t a lot of turns.

Yes, congratulation. Now please stop running 5 wide.

The Regulars

These are the ones running 25 to 30 minutes (8 to 10-minute pace). The actually run the whole time, but they don’t get crazy or anything like those other people. The seem like they actually enjoy running. Nice people. Kind of hate them for beating me but nice people.

You knew this guy would show up eventually.

The Schlubs

Finishing in 30-35 minutes (10 to 12-minute pace). Not entirely sure why we’re here or how we ended up signing up for a race. Some look the part. Some don’t. This is a mixed group. Some are walking, some aren’t. Some know the rules of the road. SOME START WALKING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE F@#%ING PATH. I may have some unresolved issues with my fellow schlubs.

The Last Pack

At the 5Ks, these are clearly not runners, but they’re here for any number of reasons. Maybe they’re working on their health (awesome) or maybe they’re here for a good cause (also awesome). Either way, they’re here. Anyone who disparages a member of this group gets to burn in their own special circle of hell. Unless it’s that walker who starts in front of runners. Then F#%$ that guy. Don’t say you weren’t warned when you get kicked by a pair of Sauconys.

Seriously, how you gonna hate on this guy? You’re sitting in front of computer, and he’s running.

And That’s All I Have to Say About That



2 thoughts on “A Guide to the People at the Races”

  1. I’ve two of the worst people stop in front of me, in the middle of the road, while we all traveled at a respectable pace. One stopped to take a picture of the crowd (really!?). The other stopped to tie her shoe in the first half mile and I couldn’t contain my small outburst and said “really!? In the middle of the road?!”


    1. There are very few things during a race that will make me genuinely angry. Not getting out of the way is the top of list. If I could get away with track spikes, I might make use of them. Did I mention I might be a terrible person?

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s