Keeping up with your athlete race day may be easier than you think! Whether you are planning to support a specific athlete or want to cheer on the entire field of participants, here are some tips you might find helpful on race day.
Have a Plan
- Arrive Early. Your participant is the most important person to you and us. There are also 12,000+ athletes and families thinking the same way you are.
- Location. Location. Looking at the various maps online is great, but if you can come to the start and/or finish before race day that always helps. As a spectator, deciding that you’ll be somewhere “near the halfway point” and “toward the end” is not enough. Create a specific plan with your athlete for where you will be.
Choose specific places and landmarks where possible, and look at the turns on the course to determine with your runner what side of the road you will be on. For instance, “I’ll be as close to the 8.5-mile mark as possible on the right side of the road, just before mile 16 on the right side of the road, and between miles 23 and 24 on the right side of the road after you pass XYZ landmark.” Avoid being near aid stations where there are half-filled cups of sports drink flying everywhere and lots of chaos.
- Know your athlete’s pace and projected finish time to keep track of his/her time and location. Download our free Mobile App powered by Michelob.
Given numerous road closures and subsequent traffic delays on race day, it is recommended that spectators drive as little as possible.
If you are staying in a downtown hotel, leave your car parked at the hotel and walk to the spectator-friendly locations recommended below. Please check with your hotel to learn more about availability and rates. For our guests staying at the Crowne Plaza, a free shuttle service will be provided on race day. Please see our website for a detailed schedule. Many downtown hotels are also within walking distance of the start and finish areas.
If you are not staying in the downtown area, we recommend you do the following:
- Pick a place to park
- Public Parking Lots (click here to view map)
- Street Parking (but not on the course you will be towed)
- Uber or have someone drop you off downtown
IMPORTANT: Refer to the Road Closure information on our website before you do any driving on race day.
Respect the Course
Stay clear of course boundaries. This means don’t cross the course, stay on the curb or sidewalks to avoid narrowing the streets for the athletes, and most importantly, listen to law enforcement, volunteers and race officials with regard to the best location to stand and cheer.
The aid stations are for participants, so please be prepared with your own supplies. Pack some bottled water and snacks for your day. Make sure you also have a reliable watch, a course map, cash, a camera, and cell phone. If rain is in the forecast, bring an umbrella, rain jacket, and extra socks. If it’s sunny, don’t forget sunscreen and sunglasses. You’re most likely going to be standing still for a while. So it’s always good to have extra layers in case you get cold. And, most importantly, make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes.
Dress to Be Noticed
In a sea of people lining the course race day, wear something that will make you stand out and that your athlete can spot you from a good distance. Banners…silly signs…balloons…it all works.
Make a sign
Marathoners love to read signs along the race course to help break the monotony. Write your runner’s name on and hold it up. It is the easiest way to get involved. BUT, you can be much more creative. Combine a simple costume with a sign and you will be the most memorable person on the course. You can be funny, encouraging, irreverent, whatever works. Even generic. A “Go, mommy, go!” sign makes every mom out there proud of her accomplishment. Try some of these phrases for signs: “You’re my hero!”; “There’s beer at the finish line.”; “All walls have doors” (good one if you’re cheering around mile 20 or beyond). If you’re supporting a family member or friend, make a sign with his name that will encourage your runner but also help them to easily identify you.
But Don’t Say This… Unless you’re right next to the finish line, don’t yell, “Almost there” or “Not far to go.”
Marathoners don’t want to hear that phrase unless they are about to cross the finish line. It’s also not a good idea to yell out a specific distance such as, “Two miles to go,” unless you’re 100% certain that the number is the correct distance to the finish line (if you happen to be standing next to a mile marker, for instance). Too many spectators give out wrong information, which can be frustrating, confusing, and disappointing for the athletes.
If the route goes past your house – consider putting a lawn chair in the driveway, grabbing your coffee and blasting some music as the participants go by.
Let your kids create some beautiful sidewalk chalk art for the participants. Words of encouragement help too. Have your kids hold their hands out for high-fives from the athletes as they go by. Make it a party.
Make a post-race reunion plan to meet your athlete in the Athlete’s Village presented by Heifer International. The Athlete’s Village is located inside the Statehouse Convention Center.
Do’s and Don’ts
- bring pets
- try to drive on the course
- drive on Rebsamen Park Rd
- smoke in the start or finish areas
- be respectful of the volunteers and race staff
- always be on the lookout for participants
- obey all traffic laws
- stay off the course
There are many opportunities to watch your athlete along the course. Some of the most accessible viewing locations are listed below. You may also wait for your athlete in Athlete’s Village at the reunion area.
- Community Bakery at 12th and Main
Might be a challenge to get there, but you can see them twice within a block
- Vino’s at 7th & Chester
This is one block before the marathon and half marathon split off from each other
- “Finale Alley”
This is the stretch along Capitol Avenue from Cross to Main Street, the final mile, lots going on.
|Mile||First Participant||Last Participant|
|1||7:00 AM||7:19 AM|
|26.2||9:10 AM||3:33 PM|