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Runners’ top 9 race-day pet peeves

What runners don't want to see on race day

In the past few years, road races have taken their runner experience to the next level. They’ve brought on sustainability initiatives, partnered with great brands for their finishers’ swag and are ensuring that everyone has a shot at a personal best and a good time en route. However, some races are a little behind the curve, and while runners always appreciate a chance to do what they love, here are what runners don’t like seeing when they toe the line. We’re here to fight the good fight against bad road races and poor racing etiquette.

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Early start times

A 9 a.m. start time is to be expected, but 7 a.m. or earlier feels a little cruel. For runners who have any commute to your 7 a.m. race, that’s probably a 3:30 to 4:00 a.m. wake up call, which is not conducive to a great performance.

Long washroom lines

How often do you find yourself choosing between missing your start time and going to the washroom? Too often. Usually, your best bet is to find a nice, secluded patch of bushes. That way you can do your business, in moderate privacy, and not miss the gun.

You’re almost there


When spectators hold up signs that say you’re almost there with 10K to go, you know they’ve never run a marathon. Because, as all marathoners know, 10K to go is when the pain party is really getting started.

Too much garbage

Historically at road races, the cups used on course are largely single-use, there are clothes dropped between the start and the finish, and thermal blankets are discarded along the exit. However, some races are taking the initiative and working towards sustainability, which runners love.

Bananas that are too green

Running foods recovery

What’s the point of giving a post-race banana if it’s too green to eat?

Running out of the swag (that you pre-paid for)

When races run out of T-shirts, medals or swag, it’s frustrating for runners. In lots of cases, the finisher’s medal is a big reason that runners chose to participate. Also, runners have already paid for these race accoutrements in their registration fee.

Boring courses


Many runners dislike a flat course that runs through the middle of nowhere. Please, make your courses as exciting as possible–runners want to see what your city has to offer.

Poorly marked courses


The poorly marked course is a very important gripe. Please, races, let the runners know very clearly where they’re going.

People stopping out of nowhere to take a picture


Fellow runners, please don’t stop mid-race to snap a photo, or if you do, at least move to the side.