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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Spectating: Jazz half

I actually meant to volunteer at the Jazz half marathon, one of my favorite races, but I waited too long and the only openings were on Friday, when we already had plans. Instead I ended up running on and near the course and spectating!
It was freezing and windy on Saturday morning, and I was kind of reluctant to leave the warm house. I put on leggings, a long sleeved shirt, and gloves. I ran to Audubon Park first. The race started at 7am - the same time I left the house - but wouldn't reach mile 7 in the park for awhile. I thought I'd run in the park before the race reached it. As I headed toward the end of the loop, I ran into a group of Varsity runners! They'd planned their long run for prime spectating, and were about to head down St. Charles ave, so I joined them. It's my first group run back since surgery (well, I walked with another injured runner once. But I hadn't run with them.)
Here's the overall winner. Credit LRC. 
The race starts downtown, heads down (divided) St. Charles Ave to Audubon park, around the park, then back up St. Charles Ave. We were running up St. Charles, so opposite the race. It gave us a chance to clearly see the leaders and cheer on our friends without getting in the way or actually being on the active course.
I was surprised that not too many people I knew were running. My friend Melissa was, though, and in fact she was in second place when she passed! Once we reached Lee's Circle, the race was in full swing. My friends continued their run, but I turned around and headed back. I got on the sidewalk, since in a few minutes the leaders would be coming back up St. Charles. Sure enough, I got another chance to see everybody, and Melissa was now caught up to the first place girl, just breathing down her neck at mile 11. Exciting!
I went back to the park, and even though there were still runners racing, they were far apart and some of the last runners, so I could easily make a loop without getting in their way. I got some cheering and encouragement in before heading home to complete a slow and easy 14 miles. It's a post-surgery distance record!
And Melissa did end up placing second - I thought she might sneak into first, but still an awesome job by her. Wish I'd seen her finish!
My favorite parts of spectating:
- Seeing the leaders speed up the avenue behind the pace car
- Seeking out familiar faces and cheering them by name. I know from experience that that's a pick-me-up!
- Helping runners out: Sometimes the fast ones want to know how far back the competition is or who is behind them.
- Cheering on kids on the course! We have a couple of local kids who run long distances, including half-marathons, and I love getting to cheer them on. They are super determined.
- Goofing around at the aid stations. I usually know half the people at the aid stations, too, and don't mind popping in to help when they have a crowd.

What's the last race you spectated? Do you ever run-spectate near the course? What's your favorite part of spectating?


  1. It must be the coach in me, but every time I spectate a race (not my kids' XC races), I end up yelling "coaching" things at complete strangers. For example, "Pull your shoulders back." Relax your arms." "Kick ahead!" "Get on her shoulder.' HAHAHA, Keith asked me once if I really thought I was helping those people. Probably not, probably just getting on their nerves. :)

  2. It's been a long time since I spectated a race - probably since the Charlotte marathon last November. I really wanted to spectate at the Twin Cities Marathon as I probably knew about 20 people running but I had a friend visiting that weekend so couldn't get away to watch the race.

  3. I always run-spectate! Might have to do that for the Standard Chartered Marathon at the end of the year. I try to cheer, too, especially for the lead women, though I'm not very loud so I end up clapping a lot.

  4. Last time I spectated was July. I'd had my race on Saturday but the half and full marathons were on Sunday so I stayed around to yell at my friends. The thing I like best is spotting my friends and cheering them on but I also enjoy yelling at strangers. It's always fun to try and get a reaction from them. I find the whole race-watching thing really inspiring.