Race Guidelines for Runners

Vancouver Sun Run 2010 - Burrard Bridge

From Wikimedia Commons

Running events can be fun-filled community events.  In order for everyone to have an enjoyable and safe experience, it is important to keep in mind some basic race guidelines for runners. These are adapted from the BC Athletics Road Race Etiquette Guidelines (pdf)

  1. Be sure to know all the race rules, details and times.  If you are unsure, check the event website; all the race details you need are likely there.
  2. Respect the race rules. Some event prohibit running with headphones, and many event have rules on running with strollers. If in doubt, check with the race organizers first.
  3. Pay attention to packet pickup hours. Some events do not allow for race day package/bib/chip pickup.
  4. Double-check your personal information at packet pickup printed on your number. Look for errors such as age, gender, or misspelling of your name.  Let organizers know BEFORE the race if you find any.
  5. Ensure that you received the size shirt that you ordered during registration.  If you have changed sizes since you registered—not an unusual phenomenon, especially for marathons—most events will have a shirt exchange at or immediately after the event.
  6. Pin your number on the FRONT of your shirt or outermost clothing and keep it visible during the event. Even if you do not care about having your picture taken or hearing your name announced as you cross the finish-line, course marshalls, timers and medics also use your bib to help identify you.
  7. Don’t be a bandit.  Do not run if you did not register, even if a friends asks for company or offers to pace you. Doing so can cause errors in the recording of times and positions of these legitimately entered. It can also make it difficult to identify you if you need medical attention during the event, If you get caught, you may be refused entry into other races.
  8. Do not allow another runner to use your number, unless it is approved by race organizers. Running with a bib of somebody who is a different gender or age group can lead to errors in the results, and deny legitimate winners. And it can also make it difficult to identify you if you need medical attention
  9. Stick to the corral and start time that you have been assigned. It’s more fun for everyone if you’re running with people who are about the same speed as you. Starting in an earlier corral means faster runners will have to leap-frog past you. If you are running with a slower friend, hang back in their corral instead of asking them to join you in yours.  With today’s chip timing systems, you don’t need to worry about not crossing the start line immediately.
  10. If you need to walk or slow abruptly during the race, raise your hand and move to the side of the road first.
  11. Pay attention to your fellow runners. Don’t block others at any time.  Slower runners should keep to the right side of the road, and allow quicker runners to pass on the left.
  12. Not everybody stops at aid/water stations. If you want to stop to grab a cup of water. move to the side, keeping the center of the course open for those running through
  13. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and this includes being able to hear any warnings/instructions from officials; or the sound of any vehicles and other participants on the course. PRO TIP: If you choose to listen to music or podcasts during a race, use only one ear bud so you can still hear what is going on around you.
  14. If you see a person in distress, find out what is wrong, and quickly tell a race volunteer.
  15. Respect private property. Use toilets provided by race organizers.
  16. Only cross the finish line once. And do not cross the finish if you did not complete the full course. Doing either of these could lead to errors in the results.
  17. Keep moving through the finish area so that others can finish behind you.
  18. Be courteous to the volunteers. Smile and give them a big thank you as you run by. You are able to run the event because of them.
  19. Stay for the awards, especially at smaller events.  You may have won a prize yourself, and it is courteous to the organizers and sponsors to be present to receive it. It is also important to celebrate the winners, especially of the various age groups who do not often get a chance to shine.
  20. Smile!….. and have fun!!

What it boils done to is simple consideration of fellow runners, volunteers and race officials.

Adapted from the BC Athletics Road Race Etiquette Guidelines (pdf)

About Yuri

I'm Yuri and I'm in a hurry to lose weight, get fit, and have fun doing it! This blog is a chronicle of a once fat guy's journey to fitness while training for a marathon—and beyond. You'll also find running-related gear review, links and inspiration.
Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Clifton Cunningham

    Respect the runners behind you. Please only take one piece of each food at the finish area. Unless you ARE the last person, there is somebody behind you that could miss out.

Leave a Reply