3 game-changing runners' etiquette that will put a smile on everyone's face on race day!

In the interest of promoting an enjoyable running and racing experience for everyone, many rules have been set to ensure runners have the most fun on race days.

I personally have tried my best to carry the best running etiquette as much as I could during races, but I shamefully admitted that I have failed in many occasions.

After experiencing running in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia (Bali), I started to realise that we can still do something more to improve our own running event quality and promote even more enjoyable running and racing experience for everyone.

And the change doesn't start from others. It starts from me.

I would want to highlight 3 most game-changing running etiquette for me to adhere to. They are also the most difficult to adhere to 100%. In fact, I have failed in these 3 rules. Sometimes I practice, sometimes I don't. (Shame on me!!! )

However, I would want to put in more effort in practicing these 3 most game-changing running etiquette. I have started doing more since early this year but it's not enough. I shall do more and make it consistent.

I believe the 3 most game-changing running etiquette will not only put a smile on my face, it will also put a smile on everyone's face that I encounter on race day!

3 Most Game-Changing Running Etiquette for Runners on Race Day

#1 RUN CLEAN: Don't be a litterbug!

I have seen car drivers in front of me throwing tissue, rubbish, water bottle, cigarette butt out of the car window when I was on a standstill at traffic jam. There was one incident which was rather funny. The car was like mine - stuck in the jam and not moving. The car driver opened the door, threw the water bottle underneath his car as if no one could see it. And you know what? It was right in the middle of Federal Highway! At that particular moment, I wasn't sure whether I should be upset or laugh about it.

water cups, bananas, sponges, power gel plastic wrapper are common scenes at race venue.

In running events, we can see cups, bananas, sponges, power gel plastic on the road with the most around water station areas and finishing line.

Even when the rubbish bags are provided, most runners still don't litter properly. 

Well - I am one such guilty fella! :( Shame on me! 

In the back of my mind I was thinking, "Since there are volunteers, DBKL, MPPJ, to help clean up later, and I am rushing for time in my race, why shall I slow down to ensure I run clean?"

Oh no!! What kind of mindset do I have?

Few recent incidents that I have encountered during races have made me more aware of running clean. I have also learned to control myself as much as I could so that I won't simply litter. 
  • A running friend, a sports education teacher at Confucian Private Secondary School in KL, carried a stainless steel cup to run at SCKLM 2014 and other races. Reason: He wanted to run clean and didn't want to use the paper cups at water station.  

Tan Kim Peng of Confucian Private Secondary School, carried a mug to run at SCKLM 2014 so that he didn't need to use the paper cups provided at water station. Salute him!! 
  • In my recent Kaohsiung Mizuno International Marathon 2016, I witnessed "the least paper cups on the floor"in any running events I have participated so far. I was so in awe of the runners there for truly practicing "run clean" and not becoming litterbugs.
  • In the same Kaohsiung Mizuno International Marathon 2016, I witnessed the most runners runningwith a paper cup or stainless steel cup clipping to their hat or pouch or wearing it on lanyard as they ran.
Because of the influence, I have been trying my best to do my part.

At Kaosiung Mizuno International Marathon 2016, threw almost every paper cup after drinking inside the trash bag. I believe I only missed 1 and the paper cup ended up on the floor next to the trash bag (but quickly picked up by cleaning lady). I was surprised by my own act. :) 

At last week's Newton Challenge KL 2016's 30 km race, I threw every paper cup after drinking inside the trash bag

I also kept all my power gel wrappers after power gel consumption inside my pouch and not litter on the road. 

Yeah - my act slowed me down a bit by stopping to throw paper cups inside the rubbish bag. But so what? I'm not a podium finisher anyway!! haha!  :)

Well, I am still a long long long way to go until such day I carry a stainless steel cup to run, but I definitely will consciously remind myself of not becoming a litterbug and practicing Run Clean as much as I can moving forward. 

Who knows? 

If I throw cups, bananas, sponges on the road, karma could bite me back hard and trip me up on my own litter on the returning lap. :)

#2 BE GRACIOUS: Say "hello & thank you" to the volunteers, road marshals, and race personnel.
For us who run full marathons which usually take 4 hours to 6 hours of our running time, there are volunteers who have dedicated at least 6 or more hours (often at night and during odd hours) of their free time to make sure we had a safe and fun race.

Yeah - a few volunteers might not do their job well; 

Yeah - a few road marshals might not stop the traffic on time for us to run non-stop across the road.

Yeah - a few volunteers might not be cheering us up as much as they would.

But shall we still be gracious and grateful to them by saying thank you to them

Definitely YES!!

I have not volunteered myself in any running event before except that I have given back to running community as a volunteer photographer in few races

And I tell you - it's hard work standing there under the hot sun, trying to take the best photos for the runners, from the first runners to the last runners, then uploading onto facebook for them to tag.

Usually the hours are long and unappreciated. 

But as photographer, runners will still smile back because they want their photos to be taken!! haha! And I was more than happy to take their photos! 

Be gracious and grateful to volunteers, road marshals, etc and show our appreciation by saying hello and thank you.But as volunteers at water stations, start / finish line, etc, usually they give us not much reason to give them a nice smile and say an encouraging THANK YOU. 

But I believe they deserve our runners' gracious greetings of "hello" and grateful thanksgiving of "thank you" to them. Little appreciate for the long hours and volunteerism can definitely help to put a smile on their faces.

I know it's hard, especially when focusing on running, panting and out of breath. But I will still continue to try my best to say hello and thank you as much as I can, especially to road marshals and those at water stations and finish line.

#3 SMILE: Give your million dollar smile to other runners, volunteers, organizer and supporters

Find the smile in every mile!!! How true!! We run because we are happy to run!! 

Run and Smile? 

Actually, it's quite difficult to run and smile when a runner is panting, running out of breath, suffering from leg and knee pain, being burned by the hot scorching sun, feeling dehydrated, losing hope wanting to give up. :)

Nonetheless, besides being sensitive to the camera to give our winning smile ( die die must have gaya!!! :)), it will be great if we can also smile to other runners, volunteers, organizer and all in the race event as much as we can.

I know it's hard. I find it very hard myself when my pia look is all over my face while focusing on running. 

But I definitely will do my best to show off my a bit yellowish teeth! :) 

Will you? :)

Big big big smile!!! I hope I can smile this big at races!!! Too gan cheong and tensed usually at races!! lol!!

Be game changer!

Hey - do you agree that if we can Run Clean (do not be a litterbug), Be Gracious (say hello and thank you to volunteers, road marshals, etc) and give our million dollar smile to runners and the rest, we will put a mile on everyone's face on race day?

I know I am far from it. But I am willing to start from myself and do my little part. 

Wow - now I can envision how the running events will be like in Malaysia - clean, happy, smiling faces with runners full of grace and gratitude.  :)

Written on 2016.07.30 with full excitement for SCKLM 2016.