If you live in the Phoenix area, especially if you live near the race route for the Rock â€˜n’ Roll Marathon or Half Marathon this coming weekend, please come out and support the runners. It matters that you’re there.
My sister came to Phoenix to do this race before I became a runner, and I drove her to the starting line, saw her start the race, cheered for her around Mile 8 and at the finish line. It was fun to be part of the excitement of the race and see all the fanfare, but I didn’t think it mattered that I was there.
I didn’t understand until I became a runner myself how helpful and encouraging it is to have people cheering for you on the sidelines, even when they’re strangers. It’s even better when you see a familiar face in the crowd.
When I did that half marathon in 2012, I knew my friends would be watching for me around Mile 8 and Mile 11. At Mile 4, I started counting down how far had to go before I would see my friends. It was so great to see my friend Tyler holding a sign that insulted me (per my request) as I ran by him and other friends. That kept my spirits lifted until Mile 11 when I saw my friend Barb who yelled, â€œMove your ass Bitch!â€ (I specifically asked my friends to insult me that year. It’s part of my masochistic nature.)
Even when I don’t recognize the people who are watching us run, it means so much that they came out to support us. I love reading all the funny signs that people make and seeing the volunteers who dress up in funny outfits. It’s mutual people watching. It’s fun to watch runners who wear costumes or running shirts with clever sayings on them. Quite a few people put their name on their shirt so you can cheer for them by name if you want. This year we had the option to customize part of our race bibs. Mine says â€œFirst Marathon.â€
The 2015 Rock â€˜n’ Roll Arizona race routes will cross Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Wherever you live, you should be able to get to a portion of the race relatively easily. If you’re going to be on the marathon route and you want to make my race, make me a sign that says â€œGo Baby Duck!â€ Baby Duck was one of the nicknames my late coach called me. This will only be my second race since his passing. That would make me happier then having people insult me.
To everyone who has ever driven a runner to their starting line, made a sign, or cheered them on along the way, thank you for your support. It makes a big difference having you there.