During my long day on Sunday, I noticed a few things about the marathon experience:
- Some spectators are there to yell for their person and some spectators are there to yell for everyone. The LB Marathon had pretty hit-and-miss spectator support, but the worst was the long stretches of people who weren’t really cheering for anyone. Obviously, they were caught up in looking for their runner, but come on people! You can clap or ring a cowbell even while you’re scanning the crowd for your husband/son/brother. The students on the Cal State Long Beach campus were awesome, though - they were full of energy and cheered boisterously for everyone, even a bedraggled girl like me.
- Lots of runners lose their timing chips. LBM used D-Tag timing and I saw quite a few of them littering the road. Can you imagine getting to the finish line only to realize you weren’t being timed?!?! That would SUCK. I suppose a few of them were from runners who DNF’d, but still.
- Lots of runners lose their pace bands, too. Every time I saw a pace band on the ground, I wondered if it was because they were running so fast it shredded and fell off, or if it was torn off in a fit when the runner realized they weren’t going to make that time goal after all.
- Nobody cheers for the walkers. Seriously. I can’t count how many signs I saw that read, “Good Job Runners!” or how many people cheered, “Way to go, runners!” to the other people around me while I was walking past them. The guy in front of me who was barely shuffling along at my exact pace elicited high-fives from the spectators, who then turned silent as I trudged past. Dude, if anybody needed cheering, it was the barfing/stumbling/crying girl!
- Only a few people got my joke. The bibs for LBM were personalized, so I had them write “Go P!” on mine. In the early miles - when I was still running and people were still cheering for me – I was surprised how many people called out my number to cheer for me, but didn’t call out my “name.” The few who did were all laughing, which I liked. And one funny fellow who saw me heading toward the port-o-potties called out, “Are you going to ‘Go P!’?” Ha! I laughed so hard I threw up.
- People who volunteer at races are the very best people on earth. It’s on my bucket list to be one of those people some day, because I can’t tell you how grateful I was for every cup of water and every kind word along the course.