As June 29th approaches, the staff members at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital are getting more and more excited about the upcoming Paws and Claws 5K event. Whether you are running, walking or cheering in Baker Park (Frederick, Maryland) that day, we want it to be a fun experience for everyone. We will have both safety and etiquette suggestions to help with this. Here are the racing etiquette guidelines we want to share. Happy racing!
Racing etiquette for 2-legged participants: (sited from Road Runners Club of America)
· Follow the rules of the race! – Generally, headphones, cell phones, and jogging strollers are discouraged. Dogs usually fall into this category as well, but not this one!!:)
· Come early and come prepared. This is a shorter race compared to half and full marathons, but using the facilities beforehand is never a bad idea. Have your identifying information with you or on (like racing numbers or whatever the specific event may have to show that you are a participant of the Paws and Claws 5K).
· Line up according to how fast you plan to walk or run the event. Slower runners or walkers should move to the back of the race pack. Runners and walkers with dogs who are also participating should line up here as well, not only because they can be a trip hazard, but because some people may be afraid of dogs and would rather not be too close. As the group thins out and some start to fall behind, then you can move up
· Pay attention to pre-race instructions. You should not be chatting on your phone or listening to your music now! And those items should be in your car anyway! 🙂 A map of the course can be found on-line at the Frederick Animal Welfare League website so you have an idea where you are going.
· If you drop something during the race, it’s better to wait to pick it up after almost everyone has passed.
· In late June, the participants most likely won’t be wearing lots of layers! But if you have an item of clothing that you want to shed as you warm up, tie it around your waist instead of dropping it on the side of the road where it can become a trip hazard.
· Do not block runners coming up behind you by swerving needlessly back and forth across the course.
· Run or walk no more than two abreast. If you are walking in a group, stay to the back of the pack and follow the two abreast rule.
· Bodily functions are a fact of life during a race. If you need to spit, blow your nose or throw-up, move to the side of the road and do it there. If nature calls, check for a port-a-potty, an open business, or maybe even a kind neighbor along the course.
· Move to the side if someone behind you says, “excuse me” or “on you’re left/right”. They are giving you a heads up that they are attempting to pass and it is proper race etiquette to allow them to do so without impeding their progress.
· If you need to stop for any reason (tie your shoe, blow your nose, etc.) move off of the course completely to do so.
· The course may not be closed to traffic in some areas, if at all. It is important to PAY ATTENTION to your surroundings! It is your responsibility to watch for oncoming traffic!
· If aid stations are available, approach them on the right, grab your fluid from the volunteers or off the table and keep moving forward away from the station.
· If you have to stop at the station, make sure to move off to the side so that you are not blocking the race or any progress to the station itself.
· Throw your cup down at your waist level and off to the right- close to an aid station when possible.
· Say thank you to any volunteers helping out!
· If you see a participant in distress, try to report it to a race volunteer with a description of the person and location if possible.
· Follow the instructions of the race officials at the finish.
· Stay around to cheer on the other participants and winners’ ceremony.
· Enjoy your race and be proud of your accomplishment!!
Racing etiquette for four-legged participants: (sited from Race Etiquette: Pooch to 5K)
· Start your walk/run at the back of the group and move up as the group begins to thin out. Make sure to keep your dog away from other runners, not only to prevent a tripping hazard, but some people may actually be afraid of our canine companions and would rather not be too close.
· If there are drink stops, pull over either before or after instead of stopping right at the table. This will allow you to get a drink for both you and your dog without blocking race flow to the aid station.
· If it looks like your dog needs to poop or pee, then move to the side of the road and off the coarse to do so. Be sure to pick up after them and dispose your bag in the nearest trashcan.
· Enjoy your race with your dog and go at their pace! Be proud of both of your accomplishments!
This is the first year for this event. While typically volunteers work these events, there is always a race director or committee overseeing the race to assure that everyone is safe and enjoys the experience. If you have any ideas or concerns about the day please be sure to share your thoughts in a positive and productive way.
Can’t wait to see you there!