The Dos and Don'ts of Race-Day Etiquette

Take Walk Breaks (Go For It!)

There's no shame in slowing down; just take care to work your way to the side first. Otherwise you could easily get slammed by another runner, says McCrone. If you need to slow down because you're hurt or feeling ill, he recommends announcing yourself. 

"Put up your hands and yell, 'Stopping!,' to alert runners behind you that something's going to change." 

If you plan to run-walk the entire race, stick to the edge of the course, where your pace changes will be less disruptive to other runners.

More: 9 Race-Day Tips for First Timers

Scoff at "Slackers" (Please Don't)

Large crowds have a way of bringing out the worst in people—and races are no exception. No matter how good you think you are, there's going to be someone better than you. So think twice before you comment on how someone is "only" running the 5K on the day you're doing the full marathon. 

Curl says these snarky runners suffer from what he calls MERD: Myopic Event Related Dementia. "That's where somebody is in a race with 25,000 people and thinks they're the only one who matters," he says.

Jam the Finish (Please Don't)

The end is near. Hooray! But don't charge the line at the peril of other runners, or retrace your steps so you have two options for a finisher's photo. Everyone is trying to complete a hard race, so move through the chute and accept that your race mug may wind up not on your mantle but on Uglyracepics.tumblr.com.

More: 10 Tips to Race Tough

Have a Fast Friend Pace You (Maybe Not)

If the "rabbit" has registered, you're in the clear, says Helbig. 

"If they paid for their entry and take you to mile 20 and then drop out of the marathon, that's completely legal," he says. 

But if they're jumping into the race at mile 20 to see you to the finish, that poses safety concerns—see banditing entry. 

"Imagine if everyone had the same attitude and 20,000 people had a fast friend jump in," says McGillivray.

Wear Your Medal After the Race (Go For It!)

You earned it, so whether you're strolling town in your race gear or you don your medal after you've showered, "wear your medal proudly," says Yasso. 

But, he adds, after race day, hang the medal on something other than your neck.

More: What to Do With Your Old Bibs, T-Shirts and Medals

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