Manners are a Marathon!



Is running a marathon really that impressive these days? Sure is! Less the .5% of the US population have ever even finished one! Many think anyone who wants to run 26.2 miles, must be a little crazy. But the truth is people run for many reasons…you can run like Forrest Gump, because you”just felt like running”, or you can run honoring a loved one, for a philanthropic cause or just to say “I did it”. Whatever your reason, we have some helpful tips for you to get you through with mindful manners.

And for the record, Lisa and I have finished running a few marathons.(I will admit that Lisa was my mentor in running my first marathon.) And , today she has graduated from training with me to mentoring young girls at Girls on The Run .  So, since we are experts on manners and running-I would like to combine the topics of Marathons and Manners. As with any popular social event, there is proper protocol-and Race Day is not an exception. Waking up during the wee hours of the morning to run amongst strangers is going to take some approriate social skills, manners, and courtesies. In 2014, in the United States alone, more than half a million people finished a marathon. So, here is a guide to be a polite runner and a proper spectator:

  1. Don’t sneak into a seeded pen.  The finish time corrals are set up for the safety of the runners, so be realistic and start in the most appropriate spot.
  2. If you run to music, use just one earbud and keep the volume low, this helps to keep you aware of things going on around you.
  3. If you are taking a drink or plan to eat at the water stations, exit gracefully-Look before you turn back into the running traffic, and toss your empty cup, banana peel or sticky gum wrapper to the side of the course and in that garbage bin.
  4. If you plan to walk-run the entire race, then stick to the edge of the course.
  5. If you take a walk break: just take care to work your way to the side first.
  6. If you need to slow down, because you are hurt or feeling ill-Put up your hands and shout “Stopping” to alert runners behind you that something’s going to change.
  7. If you must spit, snort or pass(gas), just make sure there is no one behind you when you do it.-It takes a millisecond to turn your head.-Save the embarrassment.

And Now, Marathon Etiquette Tips for the Spectators!


30,000 runners will be embarking on their journey May 3rd in the Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Marathon Events.  So if each of them bring 2 spectators to cheer them on, well, how does one successfully manage 60,000 sign toting, enthusiastic spectators? We hope that they follow our simple tips to keep the peace and pace on race day.

  1. Be Prepared. Water Stops and food stations are for participants. Pack your own snack and water.
  2. Make Signs. We love to read the signs as we run (even if they are for others)-Mile 20-Highland Park in Pittsburgh.
  3. Don’t run across the street while dodging runners.
  4. Don’t scream obscenities thinking it will motivate the runners.
  5. Clap and offer words of Encouragement for all runners, not just your favorites.
  6. Don’t offer homemade goodies. Let the food stations do their job.
  7. Stay to the finish. Nothing is more rewarding than sharing that finishing moment with a marathoner!

Unfortunately, neither Lisa nor I will be participating as runners this year. Injury and Family trumped our attendance-however, we hope those that run will let us know how you finish!

Manners, like Marathon training takes practice…so stretch out those mindful manners and see what great place they might take you!

Demetria and Lisa

Co-Founders Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts…and Marathon Finishers

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