One of the real benefits of a home marathon is that you are likely to see so many people you know along the route. Sometimes you even see people that didn’t even know you were training for the marathon ! They are much more shocked than you are.
Its highly unlikely your supporters will spot you in the crowd. You will have to spot them. Everyone looks the same to a supporter, and they are likely to be distracted by someone in fancy dress, just as you run past !
Having supporters along the route really gives you a good kick as you go past them, it cheers you up, and it can be often very emotional (trust me) so really encourage your friends and family to come out. For them, it is quite an entertaining thing to do too, and for many inspirational.
Looking out for people on the sidelines can be a great distraction from the miles, but it can also be stressful if you are not sure where exactly your ‘key’ supporters are. Make the marathon a bit easier on yourself by following these tips.
What to tell your cheerleaders :
- Arrange EXACT meeting places in advance (which road junctions)
- Decide what side of road you will run on (easier to only look one side)
- Give them a list of things to bring as back up (drinks, plasters, vaseline)
- But don’t depend on others for all drinks (They should be a bonus)
- Tell them to stand where no one else is standing
- Avoid them standing on a bend – you wont be able to see them
- Mid way up a hill is a great spot for supporters
- Ask your supporters to wear a bright colour or have a balloon/flag
- Don’t run near the pacing flags – too crowded to identify runners
- Give supporters an idea of your expected time (check out dublin marathon app which will update your FB profile as you go through certain KM markers)
- Arrange a meeting point for after – don’t just say – ‘I’ll see you at the finish’ – it’s too crowded.
- I would recommend a maximum of 3 locations en route for a supporter (unless they are on a bike!)
Best spots for supporter at Dublin Marathon :
From my experience, here are good spots for spectators.
- Start : Don’t bother – too crowded
- Mile 5-6 : A quiet spot along Chesterfield Avenue
- Mile 9 : Upper Glen Road inside Pheonix Park
- Mile 13-14 : Going up Crumlin Road
- Mile 23-24 : Going down Fosters Avenue
- Mile 24-25 : Merrion Road
- Mile 25-26 : Ballsbridge (we will be here on the right)
- Mile 26 – 26.2 : Very busy and wide road – recommend runners just enjoy this bit and don’t stress trying to look out for supporters. Instead keep your eyes on the road, the finish line and take in all the atmosphere.
- Finish : V difficult to see or hear people – arrange in advance a meeting point and avoid stress at the finish
Keeping Children Entertained :
- Ask them to make posters for the runners
- Bring along biscuit tin of sweets to offer to runners
- Look out for the fancy dress runners
- Bring along small chairs to sit on
- Balloons – kids can play with them, and you will spot them
Yes, running a marathon is hard work. Supporting can be hard work too. Even the most patient of children will be bored of watching by the time the front runners pass. They will also be very disappointed when they see you are not going to win the race. For small children, just arrange one place to meet and avoid the pressure on everyone chasing you around the city. Pick a location near a toilet, a shop and somewhere with shelter. It can get very cold waiting for runners. The last thing you want to be greeted with at the end of your marathon is a group of wet, crankly, hungry and bored supporters. Make the day easy on them too and you will all enjoy the celebrations.
Our plans for the Race Day
Here is our plan for supporters for race day – come join us if you are free..
- – 8am : Meeting all our students at Maldron Hotel Cardiff Lane
- – 9am : Will wave goodbye to all the gang at the start line and head towards our first cheer point
- –10am : Chesterfield avenue the Pheonix Park between 5 and 6 mile marker on the runners right hand side
- –11am : Ballsbridge to catch all the finishers in their last mile (across road from American Embassy)
- –11am -3pm : Watch out for many more of our running chicks out on bikes and on foot all around the course.
- –4pm : Back to the Maldron Hotel to put our feet up after a long day of cheering (and running, for some!)
Mary Jennings is founder and running coach at ForgetTheGym which provides coaching and support to runners and joggers from beginners right up to marathoners. She is a certified Chirunning coach based in Dublin, Ireland.
This marathon week follow her daily tips :
Tues : Tips for First Timers
Thurs : Your Marathon Checklist
Fri : The Marathon Expo
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