Friday, October 14, 2011

Running As a Spectator Event

On Sunday, a friend and I drove to Long Beach to watch the Long Beach Half and Full Marathon. I was prepared for a nice day of spectating, ans was fully prepared with camping chair, sandwiches, hand-made signs, and pretzels and Starbursts to hand out. The pink cowbell I purchased from the Run with Donna 26.2 website hasn't made it in the mail yet, otherwise I would have brought that too! That being said, all you really need to be a successful spectator is your presence, and your cheering voice.

We arrived at the Start Line around 6:30 a.m. I have never done this race before, and was glad to see how easy it was to park and get to the starting line. Liz and I only saw a few Leggers, so we hung out at the Start until the masses were released. We then walked about 1.5 miles to the vicinity of Mile 11 (half) and Mile 24 (full) to set up out chairs. I wanted to go a little further, but Liz thought we may get tired walking back afterward.

It was kind of funny how we had our chairs set up - all we needed was a cooler of beer and we could have been tailgating at a football game. Except we didn't have much time to tailgate since soon the lead half-marathoner came through. But we did wait about two hours for the marathoners.

I knew people in both the full and half events, and kept a watchful eye out for them. Along the way, I was happy to see Leggers whom I recognized. Here is a photo(taken by Legger Jennifer) of us spectating:

By the end of the day, all the pretzels and Starburts I brought were consumed. The day turned out to be rather hot, so the pretzels were pretty popular (necessary salt for long-distance runners). Liz even helped out with the water station at Mile 25.

Some interesting sights along the course:

A marathoner pushing a Pomeranian in a stroller - It's funny, I saw the dog at the beginning, and then again around mile 24-25. She seemed extremely happy.

A marathoner dressed as Superman, complete in tights over his running shorts.

A troupe of women dressed elaborately as witches in the bike race.

Sighting of Yolanda Holder, the keeper of the Guinness Record for most marathons completed by a woman in a single year.

Sadly, I didn't see my Pasadena Marathon friend Lan, or Legger Carol, but they did great. I was also very happy for Legger Michelle who made amazing time and cut her PR by over an hour.

Spectating is A LOT of fun. You get to support people who don't even know, most of whom are in a very good mood. I was looking at the route for the Los Angeles Rock n' Roll Half-Marathon to determine where I will spectate that day - the problem is that I'm unfamiliar with the area (all around downtown) and have to figure out the best place - Is it just me, or does the course look like it goes through South Central?

Happy running, and happy spectating!

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