I've run the Duke City Half-marathon for the past 3 years. I really wanted to run it again this year, but my knee just wasn't cooperating and I got back to running about a month too late to be sufficiently prepared. I certainly didn't want to risk re-injury, so I reluctantly stayed on the sidelines for this one.
My running group had a 6-person co-ed relay team in the full marathon. Two of our runners were doing the half. Two of us were planning to sit this one out.
I wasn't running, but wanted to participate in a meaningful way. I decided the best way to do so was to show up and cheer for our solo runners. I decided to position myself near the half-marathon turn point. Since I didn't want to miss my runners, and I wasn't sure where I find a parking space, I made sure to get out there early.
While I intended to take photos while I was out there, in reality the only photo I took was of the 7 mile marker that I was standing near. Exciting, huh?
Of course, I couldn't just stand there silently and wait for my runners. Soon I fell into a cheering rhythm. CLAP CLAP CLAP "Good job runners" CLAP CLAP CLAP *pause* (repeat)
The first person that I saw that knew me was none other than the hills repeat guy! In our interchange that one day, we hadn't introduced ourselves by name, so he called me by the name of the village that we live in. "Hey, Corrales! " Hahahahahaha.
I almost missed my first runner. To my surprise, one of the other runners that I thought had sat out this race was running with her. He had mentioned the possibility for making a last minute decision to pace her (I think there was time to sign-up at the expo). As he ran by, he stopped for a moment, took off his long sleeve shirt and handed it too me. I was happy to help out, but it was pretty gross...all sweaty...when I got it home, I put it into the wash immediately. LOL
Since I was near the turn point, I was able to cheer for my runner directly after the turn around. She was looking strong and I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up with a half-marathon PR.
Back to my routine of CLAP CLAP CLAP "Good job runners!" CLAP CLAP CLAP *pause* (repeat) while I waited for my other runner.
I want to mention something. When I run, I make it a point to thank the volunteers and folks on the course who are out cheering. I've never been very sure how many other people do that. Based on my experience yesterday morning, I'd say that maybe 5% said thank you as they ran by while I was cheering. That's more than I expected, and it made me happy.
I had no problem finding my next runner. To my surprise, he was running with one of the guys who had run an early leg of the marathon relay who was essentially doing a cool down. When they saw me they said that they had been looking for me and were really happy to see me which warmed my heart. I gave some encouragement and made a few jokes as they ran by (both times). It was good to see them smiling.
I stayed for a little while longer, then decided to head home. I would have preferred to be out on the course running myself, but in lieu of that, cheering was a surprisingly satisfying alternative.