I love a good screaming crowd. I mean who doesn't? In the right context. I have equated to running a road race to feeling like a rock star.
I mean there are people there that have NO IDEA who you are, but they are cheering you on and little kids want to high-five you.
Okay they want to high-five most people - yes I have been dissed by an 8-year-old before during a race. It kinda hurt my feelings.
But I digress...
When I normally race, I have one or maybe two people there to cheer me on (except Boston Marathon of course) and they cannot be all places along the course to offer moral support.
(Depending on the course, my dad kicked booty at Rock 'n' Roll Savannah Marathon so I could see him 4 times along the route)
So we need to rely on the other spectators to help push us through to the Finish.
But HOW do you stick out in a crowd of sometimes 20,000 runners?
Here are some of the tips I've picked up along the way that help me get the cheers I need!!
1) If you are on social media, share a pic of your outfit prior to race day. This - for me - results in a "flat Dani" type situation.
I can't tell you how many blog readers, Twitter followers or even my Weight Watchers members have told me they knew what to look for all because I posted a pic in advance.
2) Put your name in BIG letters on the front of your running singlet or t-shirt.
Also block lettering is much easier for fans to read. You need to make sure it is visible from 10-20 feet away. I mean you aren't running up to the crowd shoving your shirt in their face - hopefully. I don't see that working all that well.
3) Piggybacking off Number 2 - make your charity, twitter handle or blog name LARGE on the FRONT of your shirt.
Many people try to put cute sayings on the back of shirts - that's great, but people don't tend to follow through and watch you pass them. They won't see anything you put on the back of the shirt so put all important info on the front!
4) Write your name or bib number on your arm.
This can be a risky choice! Why? As you can see above, sunburns happen. Sunburns lead to you having your name permanently on your arm like all summer long. Yeah plan accordingly if you have a summer race and a big fancy event a month or so after.
Also, learn from my mistake - don't write your name in marker then put your armband over it. It just gets messy and ends up getting marker all over everything. Oops! Put your name on the right arm. :P
5) Wear something cute, bright and shiny that will catch the crowd's attention!
Now I have found that different articles of clothing will obviously appeal to different ages and sexes.
This is not meant to be sexist at all - it is just something I've found works for me. ;)
To win over the girls-ladies of the crowd: rock a cute skirt. For me? It is the Sparkle Athletic skirts all the way.
Plus they are fun and are comfortable to wear while running, which is the most important thing - not letting crowd pleasing outfits get in the way of your performance.
For the boys and gentlemen in the crowd, a good pair of knee socks can do the trick. My personal favorite: my Superman socks. They have amazing little capes on the back.
Superhero socks, colorful socks, BEER knee socks ... any of those will work. :)
I had a little boy yell out during one 5k: "Look dad that girl is Superman!" Oh the smile on my face was HUGE!
6) A full costume.
This is something that I have only tried during this January's Walt Disney World Half Marathon. I dressed up at Jessie from Toy Story and LOVED the "Go Jessie" cheers along the course.
Again make sure it is something that will not impede your performance in your race.
And sometimes almost all of these tips come together in the perfect storm: my Boston Marathon outfit this past April.
It was the first race I truly had something that appealed to everyone in the crowd so I felt like those folks carried me through one of the hardest races of my life!!
How do you rally the crowd and capture their energy to pull you through a race?