I’ve completed over 100 running races and a familiar face has greeted me at the finish line in exactly three of them. As a single, childless woman, I don’t have a family of my own to offer support. I arrive and leave races alone. I don’t usually mind.
Here are the top 10 excuses I’ve heard over the years as to the non-existence of friends and family at the start and finish line:
1. It’s too early in the morning. Yes, races start early. But it’s worse for me that it is for you. Not only do I have to get up early, but I also have to run 26.2 miles. You just have to show up in nice warm clothes drinking your Starbucks and stand. At a marathon finish line, I’m so slow that it’s not early in the morning anymore. It’s usually early in the afternoon. No excuse.
2. I won’t see you. I know some races have upward of 20,000+ runners. But I wear bright clothes. I’m 6’0” tall. I’m slow. I’m kind of tough to miss.
3. There’s nowhere to park. Then drive around and wait until someone pulls out. If you are coming to the finish line, I’m so slow I guarantee plenty of people have left already.
4. I stand around for hours and see you go by for a few seconds. I know running is not a basketball game in which you can watch a team play for hours. But the small support lifts my spirits when the pain is deep.
5. It’s boring. Yes, marathons are the worst parades ever. But for runners, it’s those on the sidelines that entertain us and put smiles on our faces. Think of it this way—you’ll make our day.
6. It’s too long of a day. Then just come to the finish line. I’m so slow, you’ll have your whole morning off before I’ll be done. Then you can carry my gear back to my car because I’m too sore to do it myself.
7. I hate crowds. By the time I finish, believe me, the crowd has disbanded.
8. Runners smell. Yeah, I have no comeback for that.
9. All the roads are closed. Then park farther away and walk. I have no sympathy for you. I just ran for over four hours.
10. It’s too cold or it’s too hot. Then wear appropriate clothing.
In reality, whether family and friends witness my finish or not, I’m always just happy to accomplish another goal—even if it’s only the race photographer who documented it.
Hopefully you aren’t like me and have a plethora of support at the start and finish. But if not, what excuses have you heard?