Respect for the Game


There are a lot facets to the term, “respect for the game,” as applied to ultrarunning.

Respect the course in all ways. The obvious leave no trace. If you drop something, pick it up. If you see something someone else has dropped, pick it up. The not so obvious form of course respect is what Mother Nature can dish out during these events. Be prepared for the unexpected and train adequately for the terrain you will be crossing. Mother Nature has other children out there in the mountains too. Be aware of what you could come across, moose, mountain lion, bears and such. It’s a good idea to know what to do when you do see them.

Respect for all the other runners. I hate to see runners being rude to one another. We’re one tribe. Call out when you are approaching other’s from behind. If you hear someone call out, move over as much as you can. Watch out for one another out there, stop and offer help if you see another runner who is in need, stop and see if you can help. This is just one of the things that I love about trail runners. If you’re bent over on the side of the trail, the next runner will ask if you’re okay, and the next, and the next.

Respect for volunteers and race staff. Remember no one has to be out there for you. The race director and the staff are there because they love the sport. They love to see people succeed. They love to watch the strength and tenacity of the runners. It takes an inordinate amount of organization and time to put on an event that spans fifty to one hundred miles. Many volunteers are out there year after year. So, even when you are hurting and feel like you’re going to die, smile at volunteers and staff and say thank you with your whole heart.

Respect for your crew and pacers. These people are out there solely for you. They aren’t getting paid. They are just there because they care about you and want to see you achieve your goals. They are the people who make or break your run. The work they put into helping you is huge. They are out there all night and day. They deal with things you will never know about (because you have enough on your mind). They cater to your every need even when you’re smelly and have all sorts of bodily functioning issues. They brave the weather and the boredom of waiting for you.

Respect for yourself. You’ve put a lot of time and sweat into getting to race day. You’ve spent hours planning and organizing to make it the most successful race possible. Anything can happen out there. Even the elite runners have bad days and drop out of races. If something goes wrong, learn from it rather than beat yourself up over not meeting your own expectations. Finally, respect your body and give it the rest it needs to become stronger.

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