5 Reasons Spectating is an Awesome Sport

Linking up today with the DC Trifecta ladies Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia for this week’s Friday Five. Thanks for hosting!!

I’ve been doing a lot of this lately, spectating, and I have been having a blast!

Before I begin, last Saturday I was the official spectator for my blogging buddy, Hailey@StridingStrong  at a local 5k. She’s pure awesomeness.

I hadn’t met Hailey “in real life” but we’ve chatted quite a few times in the past year trying our best to get together. We live in the same freaking city! But, we kept missing each other. Until last weekend.

She told me she’d signed for this 5k. This was big news as Hailey doesn’t race often–not like someone else I know (Oh Helly…).  I shockingly hadn’t signed up and figured this would be the perfect chance for me to meet her and see her run!!

I’ll be using her race to explain:


1.) A different point of view

This girl. Amazing.

She’s tiny, soft-spoken, (gorgeous), and just the sweetest person ever. BUT, holy wowzers can this girl run!!! Hailey is probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met yet there is a fierce strength about her. The Hailey I spoke with pre-race and the Hailey that toed the start line were two different girls. I was able to snap pictures of her before and after that caught this transformation.

Don't let the beautiful smile fool you--that girl is fierce!

Don’t let the beautiful smile fool you–that girl is fierce!

A beast.


Seriously one of the reasons I love spectating…

Like I mentioned, not participating in the race let me see it and the runners in a different light. These weren’t people I was running against, these were people I was admiring, studying, revering.

I spoke with Hailey pre-race and she said she was nervous. I definitely get the pre-race jitters too but seeing her, someone who does what she does very, very well, nervous reminded me that fast people are human too. Just because they’re good at what they do doesn’t mean they don’t experience anxiety.

Since I wasn’t getting ready to start a race, I was really able to see the different emotions on the runners as they began the race. From the ones who were at the very front, fierce and determined, to the ones starting from the back, at ease and jovial–it was really cool to watch.

2.) Part of the crowd

I got to meet Hailey’s family–her brother drove an hour to see her run and her mom had been at the same race the year before. I liked that because I wasn’t participating, I was able to see the support group, the people who motivate Hailey.

Same thing with the rest of the crowd. I knew I didn’t have much time to mingle. Hailey would be back under 20 for sure. But I chatted with some of the race volunteers, other spectators who were watching their sisters, moms, co-workers. I would likely never see these people again, but for that morning, we had something in common.

3.) No pressure

There was no goal time for me except making sure I was at the finish to see Hailey cross. The thing about spectating that is probably the most enjoyable (for me anyway) is that there is no pressure looming. I’m simply there to support. Of course, if the race doesn’t go well for whomever it is your supporting, there’s slight pressure in making sure they’re okay, that you do the best you can to comfort. But there is no feeling of frustration in not having met a goal.

Hailey crossed the finish line in 17:55, meeting her goal of sub 18 and 5 seconds away from her 5k PR she’d set in college. First female overall.

Like a boss.

Like a boss.

She said it was progress. (Love that girl.)

4.) The Signs!!

had to make Hailey a sign. I mean, I just had to. And the English teacher in me had to take advantage of Hailey’s name. Students, what is my sign an example of?

Alliteration! :D

Alliteration! 😀 (It even says: Love, Helly for good measure!)

Every time I run a race, one of my favorite things to do is read the signs of the spectators. They’re so many good ones!! I don’t know about you, but I’m always thankful of those who take the time to make them. They help out more than I think spectators know.

5.) Free

Free fun. Free inspiration. Free motivation. Free learning. Free experience.

So much you take away–all for free.

The first runner over all crossing at 15:35

The first runner over all crossing at 15:35

I hope you all have a good weekend! ❤ , helly

–Do you enjoy spectating races? What’s your favorite thing?

–What do you notice/enjoy about spectators while you’re running?


28 responses

  1. I love this! My boyfriend is contemplating running a marathon in the fall and I am really hoping he does mainly because I want to spectate and cheer! He’s always out on the sidelines with my family, so I can’t wait to do the same for him! I always look at signs and I love love love the original ones. My favorite was “I love you, but you’re 26.2 miles of crazy” I thought that was great! Hope you have a great weekend!!

    • My husband is running his first this fall! He’s my biggest supporter and I wanted to not run and just cheer but he said he wouldn’t even be doing it if I didn’t love running so much–so I’m running too! I do spectate most of his races though–he prefers shorter distances (and I like the longer ones) so it works out perfectly lol!
      I also LOVE the signs!! There’s so many good ones!

  2. Spectating seriously is a sport! I’ve done it on various levels–but by far the most exhausting was cheering as part of Team Challenge. It takes a lot of energy and endurance to keep doing that for hours!

  3. Making race signs is the best part of spectating. I love coming up with fun, clever signs. You’re such a good friend for going out there and cheering for her.

    Holy shooooot! That Hailey girl is MIGHTY FAST!!!!!!!!!!!! I bow down to her awesomeness.

  4. Spectating sounds so fun! I’ll have to try it someday instead of signing up for EVERY RACE EVER. I’m sort of taking the month off (from racing) so maybe I’ll just go to a race to watch …or maybe I’ll just sleep in and enjoy my weekends. 🙂

    And man… Hailey is FAST!!! Congrats on her win! I’ll have to go check out her blog.

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever just spectated a race (except swimming when my husband was involved), but I have volunteered, which is fun. In fact, I’m doing it for one of our big local races on July 4.

    That’s so awesome that you went to cheer on Hailey. I read her blog too, so I read her story about you being there first 🙂

  6. YES! I LOVE spectating races. I love seeing the smiles light up on people’s faces when you yell at the top of your lungs and cheer them on. And you get to see a different side of runners like you said when they get out there and compete.

  7. Aww this post made my heart smile 🙂 You’re so amazing and sweet! And I’m so glad I didn’t scare you off with my nerves haha, you should get some kind of special reward for just meeting someone and having to deal with that ;).

    I’m so glad you were able to meet my family, they thought you were adorable and so nice! They also may have asked how old you were and said they thought you looked 22, to which I replied that’s one of the million reasons we relate to one another :).

    I LOVED the sign! I’m a big fan of alliteration too, so I was pretty dang excited when I saw it and it now hanging next to my medal hanger in my room 😀

    And that guy!! I don’t think I have ever been in a race with someone that fast before, my sister-in-law was telling me about him and I was like holy smokes! People that fast usually don’t come to the smaller ones like that.

    I love spectating. I just think some encouraging words to complete strangers can go a long way and it’s fun to just watch the sport because there’s always something to learn from it. I know when I was spectating Phoenix, I literally wanted to go out and run a marathon that day haha! ❤ Thank you so much for taking time out of your day and waking up early to come and cheer me on 🙂 I cannot wait for all of our future adventures 😀

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