2015 Runaway Pumpkin -531-LIf you want to be wow’d be the human spirit of determination and stamina, then line up along the race course and cheer on the participants of the 2016 Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon & 8K. There’s no better seat in the house.

Crowd support is immensely important for the folks who run and walk our course. But being a good race spectator takes preparation. If you’re planning to come and watch the race, make sure to follow these tips so you can be an asset on the race course.

1.)  Be prepared. The water and food stations are for race participants, so you should be prepared with your own supplies. Pack some bottled water and snacks. Runners really appreciate noise — yelling, clapping, whistling — and we offer some cowbells before the race for additional participant encouragement.

Make sure you have cash, camera, and a cell phone. If you are over 21 years of age, we welcome you to purchase a beer from a local brewery in our beer garden but don’t forget to bring your i.d. so you can access the garden. If rain is in the forecast, bring an umbrella and rain jacket. If it’s sunny, don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses. You’re most likely going to be standing still for awhile so always have extra layers of clothing in case you get cold. And don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes.

2.)  Make signs. We have signs along the race course but runners really love the homemade signs that you bring. It helps break up the monotony. Try some of these phrases for signs: “You’re my hero!”; “There’s beer at the finish line.” If you’re supporting a family member or friend, make a sign with his or her name that will encourage your runner but also help them to easily identify you.

3.)  Respect the course. Don’t stand or walk on any part of the course. It’s not fair to runners if you make the race course even more crowded or become an obstacle that they have to run around. If you can’t see the runners from where you are standing because it’s too crowded, move to a different viewing location.

4.)  Pick an encouraging phrase. Rather than just clapping as runners go by, pick a phrase or two to yell. Some good ones include: “way to run”; “you can do it”; “looking strong”; “nice job”; “you’re flying.”

5.)  But don’t say this… Unless you’re right next to the finish line, don’t yell, “almost there,” or “not far to go.” Runners don’t want to hear that phrase unless they are about to cross the finish line. It’s also not a good idea to yell out a specific distance such as, “two miles to go,” unless you’re 100% certain that the number is the correct distance to the finish line.

6.)  Find your runner. Make sure you know exactly what your runner will be wearing, from head to toe. It’s easier to spot a running pumpkin with a tutu, for instance, rather than looking at everyone’s faces. Let your runner know what you’ll be wearing and where you think you’ll be standing, so he or she knows to look for you. Some spectators even carry balloons so their runners can easily spot them from a distance.

7.)  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. A good spot might be to meet in front of the beer garden so you can celebrate together the runner or walker’s achievement. Again, if you plan to access the beer garden, you must bring i.d. showing you are over 21 years of age, no exceptions.