Why Spectate a Road Race?


By: Andi Ripley

Here’s to enjoying race day excitement without having to hobble down the stairs the next morning. (Sign me up, right?) I know it’s inconvenient rising early in the morning and sorting out schedules and driving and parking and such. Especially just to watch.

I hear you. You would rather be racing. Me too. But most of us can’t race every weekend (or shouldn’t). Personally, I have some injury stuff going on, so cheering has been my thing lately.

As I look to focus on the positive, I want to share my top 5 reasons to spectate:

1. It’s always nice to be the one helping people hobble down the stairs, rather than being the one hobbling.

Just straight up more comfortable to be a spectator.

2. Watching races informs future races.

I wish I had some sources about research of people watching running and measuring their performances thereafter. I would love to speculate that watching people race improves our ability to envision our own racing and manifest good results. I don’t, so for now, it’s all theory.

3.Community grows where support is shown.

Everyone wants support. Be that person for someone. You won’t regret it. I know I haven’t. And have you ever been to a race and thought, “Wow! That race community was super positive/encouraging/fun/supportive”? We race all over the country, and believe me: there’s a difference.

4. It’s free.

Say what? I can watch a US Road Championships, major road races, and other events for FREE? Yes. To watch the best in the world compete at a high level in other sports, most tickets are top dollar. Spectating a road race is an amazing experience one can get for FREE.

5. Learn more about the sport.

Arguably most runners know more football players and basketball players than they know the top US runners. Running is our sport, my friends! This past weekend I specated the Amway Riverbank 25k in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was also the US 25k Road Racing Championships. I will admit I did not know Parker Stinson until he won and broke the 25k American Record. Now I know. I won’t forget him.

What do you love about spectating? Anything you would like add?

Let’s be runners who elevate other runners.

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