Race Etiquette

By Lucas Zanetti, Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa

For big running events to go smoothly and be a positive experience for everyone involved, it is important that participants follow some general etiquette. Whether it’s your first race or you’ve been there before, we can all make sure that we are respectful to other participants, volunteers, and the race itself. Here are 6 race day etiquette tips to help you have a smooth race experience!

Respect the corrals

For each race, there are corrals at the start line that are organized based on your expected finishing time, with the faster corrals closer to the line. It is important that you line up in your appropriate corral so that you don’t get trampled by faster runners behind you and likewise, so that you don’t impede on faster runners behind you. At Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, The corrals are clearly marked and your race bib will show which corral you should be in. Respecting the corrals helps ensure a smoother and safer race for everyone!

Try to signal if you are about to walk or stop

Whether you are doing your event as a walk-run or just need to take a breather during the race, try to signal the runners behind you by putting a hand up before you begin to walk , or make your way to the side of the course. This way, you’re less likely to impede on anyone’s race and there is less chance of a collision.

Aim your trash

After passing a water station on the course, there will be a zone to toss your cups with some garbage cans. Try to aim your cups and/or used gel packets as close to the garbage as you can to keep the course clean for other participants and to make the clean up as easy as possible. 

Leave room on the road

During a race, it can be helpful to run in a pack with others but you should be conscientious of others on the road and try not to run more than 2 or 3 wide so that others can pass if they need to.

Take your recovery food and move on

Don’t take more recovery food than you need after the finish line. Oftentimes, the race director will have ordered food based on the number of participants and if everyone is taking more than they need, then there will be people who will get left out when they finish their races.

Be respectful to volunteers

The volunteers contribute their time to help make every aspect of the event run smoothly, from the water stations, to the start and finish lines, to the recovery area. When you see a volunteer, give them a smile and a thank you to show your appreciation!

Overall, it all comes down to common courtesy. Treat others how you would like to be treated and help keep race day as a safe and fun experience for everyone!

The 50th anniversary of the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon is going to be Canada’s biggest running party of 2024! Register now for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, May 25-26!