A Guide to Cheering


Ever get frustrated when you’re doing a race and there are a ton of spectators there, but they just came to cheer on their cousin Amy, so they’re just not dishing out any extra cheers? Yeah, me too. I’m sure it’s because I participate in races myself that I understand the importance of a good cheer. There is a strange comfort that comes from a complete stranger willing you on. Maybe you have to have been on the receiving end of it to truly get it, but I like to think that human nature would kick in at some point and you’d think ‘hey, maybe some of these other people might like a kind word!’

I ran a race a couple of weeks ago that had a good number of spectators on either side of the course, but the majority of the time, it was like running through a tunnel of silence. It was disappointing, unnerving and kind of eerie. Listen, we get that you’ve just come to cheer for your mate, but there are usually, like, upwards of 15,000 people running any given race, so you may get a little bored while waiting for said amigo to roll through. How about just clapping your hands, letting out the occasional ‘WHOOP!’ or maybe even going really crazy and high fiving some of the other people you see sweating it up on the course?

I don’t think those of us who participate in races think it’s a noble thing to do. We’ve chosen to do it of our own free will and sure, you’re not obliged to cheer…except, you kind of are. I mean, if you’ve gone through all the trouble of showing up on the sidelines, frankly, it’s just a bit of a douche move to not cheer on anyone else but the one person you’re technically there for. At least respect that anyone running/cycling/whatever represents a dedication and commitment that is often hard to come by. They’ve sacrificed, they’ve persevered with their training for months and race day signifies a massive celebration of that achievement. Respect that. Celebrate with them – clap, cheer, stomp your feet, congratulate them. Whether you know them or not is irrelevant, just understand this as a human experience. Give them your good vibes freely and openly. I can’t even tell you how much it is appreciated.

So, here are some tips:

– Make signs (funny ones are always appreciated)

– Bring whistles, a megaphone, a sound system – if you’re gonna show up, like really show up and go all out

– Don’t be drunk. Seriously, total douchebag move. What you think is really supportive motivational cheering is actually super obnoxious, alcohol-breathed yelling in someone’s face and it is not cute.

– Let go of your inhibitions – look there’s no point in being all stiff upper lipped or shy about this, just get stuck in with some legendary cheering.

– Bring good vibes – think of something really hard you’ve had to do and imagine the kind of vocal encouragement you’d want. Also, little things like bringing bottles of water or wet wipes or sweets to hand out to the runners is a nice touch.

So there you have it – cheering ain’t hard y’all! In fact, I’m willing to bet you’ll have a ton o’ fun doing it. Start planning your next cheer outing immediately!

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