I went out to watch some of the Flying Pig runners this morning. I figured it was better to do that than to keep lying in bed doing nothing. I almost felt bad that I didn’t run any parts of the 2010 Flying Pig when I saw all the runners doing their thing – pushing through, finding distractions, moving despite being soaking wet from rain and sweat – but then I finished my brownie for breakfast and got over it.
I wasn’t out long, I walked about a mile (today’s exercise for sure) and stopped a few times in spots that looked fun. I saw my landlord and his wife but they were talking to a runner (I guess he wanted to chat?) so I didn’t bother them. A little girl and her mom were on the course, mommy rattling a cowbell and daughter “hi-fiving” the participants that went by, and I kept thinking there should be some explanation on race-fan etiquette in those spectator guides. Maybe there is, but I wonder if it includes how to hi-five? These runners would see this cute little girl with her curly hair holding mommy’s hand and run over to her to give her a hi-five and cute little girl would lean back and hit these runners as hard as she could. Inappropriate, even for a cute little girl. Eventually, about eight runners bombarded her with hi-fives and she couldn’t swing back.
Next stop, Starbucks. Where I saw two runners! Wait a minute.
Back out to the course I heard a runner complaining about the people cheering them on during the race. “She should be out here running, then she would know if we could really push through or if we needed to stay strong.”
Now, nothing irritates me more than the runners who finish and come back to cheer on the slower runners. I see it as a slap in the face, a way of bragging, but I try to take it as I am sure it is meant to be – as encouragement. But bad-mouthing the fans – that came out for no good reason but to watch and cheer, seems a little selfish to me.
I saw one of the runners I passed in Starbucks and asked her if she was still running and just stopped for coffee. She laughed and said she was officially done, she was in the relay.
I continued walking down the scenic road and watched a man run between houses ro relieve himself behind a bush. I didn’t watch him, but I knew that was what he was doing – which was strange because about 100 yards away were several available porta-potties.
I snuck through the middle portion of the course and went to the side with the water stop, which was directly in front of a fire station. And wouldn’t you know it, a fire must have broken out because two fire trucks turned on lights and sirens and began heading down the course, scattering runners every direction. I always get to see the coolest stuff.
Continuing on, I saw runners with wings, spectators with pig noses, lots of Cincinnati Reds hats, women who were running and covering their top halves because they forgot wearing white in the rain is pretty much transparent, a dude running in cargo shorts (really, at mile 16?), and of course, a guy in a car who thought he would just sneak past the two Sheriff’s cars, the two Sheriffs, and a course full of runners. That didn’t happen, but it never ceases to amaze me that people think rules don’t apply to them just because they have a breakfast date.
I’m glad I went to check things out. I ran in Akron and the spectators were awesome, mostly because they turned on their spigots and let us drink water since the race ran out of water. I worked the N.Y. Marathon and the fans were amazing – but it’s a party for them. I worked the Disney Marathon and spectators are pretty much non-existent until the finish line. I ran the Columbus Half Marathon and fans were pretty encouraging. I ran a half marathon in Orlando and don’t remember many fans – but do remember those I wanted to strangle who came back on the course to cheer me on as I struggled to waddle to the finish. Last year I ran the Flying Pig Half and was truly impressed. So, in my limited experience as a runner and a spectator, I’m proud of the Cincinnati runners and fans.