There's no official porta-potty protocol people follow, but there should be. As every runner knows, smooth races start with smooth pre-race rituals.
With the help of real, regular runners just like you and me, we came up with the unofficial guide to proper bathroom etiquette on race day.
DO be courteous to runners racing first1 of 8
If you're participating in an event with more than one race, allow runners with the earlier start time to use the facilities first.
Also, if you brought supporters, tell them to stay out of the toilet line--if possible!-- until after the runners have taken off.
DON'T get distracted2 of 8
Waiting for a porta-potty is not the time to take pre-race selfies or tweet. Put your electronic devices away and pay attention to how the line is moving.
"Be ready to enter as soon as you start reaching the front of the line," instructs Maria Peterson, 45, a runner from Columbia, Maryland. "Don't be one of those people who wastes time taking off a water belt" or other accessories.
Shannon Chenoweth, 39, of Orlando, Florida gets frustrated when people form one or two lines for a long row of porta-potties.
"Make multiple lines to keep things moving," she says.
DO allow others to cut the line in emergency situations3 of 8
When it's obvious a runner's gut or bladder is screaming for relief, step aside please.
Clay Collins, 53, of Glade Spring, Va. recalls the time a woman at a race ran up to the porta-potty line with a look of panic on her face. Collins and the other runners immediately told her to go ahead of them.
"When she got out she was embarrassed and thanked all of us," he says. "I don't think she had to tinkle."
DON'T forget to securely close the door and DON'T take too long4 of 8
Make sure to lock the door so people know the toilet is occupied--no one wants to see you like that, promise.
Once inside, don't use it as an opportunity to text friends or scroll through your Facebook feed.
"Try and be quick about it," says Melissa Abbott Pollio, 42, of High Point, N.C. "This isn't your house where you can sit for hours on end--do your business and get out."
DON'T leave a mess and DON'T throw trash in the hole5 of 8
This seems like the most obvious rule, right?
Yes, the shacks will inevitably get pretty gross after scores of people relieve themselves, but you can keep them bearable with a little bit of effort.
It starts with paying attention to your aim, and if you miss, cleaning the seat, toilet lid or floor.
To be prepared for a spill, veteran runners know it's always smart to have your own supply of tissues and/or wipes.
Lastly, don't use the holes as trash cans for wrappers, bottles and other garbage, which makes cleaning the porta-potties harder for the supplier (as if the job isn't hard enough).
DO wash your hands and DO hold the door for the next runner6 of 8
This rule seems to be one of the most frequently ignored, particularly when runners are rushing to pee right before the race starts.
Many porta-potties are equipped with hand sanitizer, but it's always a good idea to carry your own.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Squeeze the gel into one palm and thoroughly rub it into both hands until they are dry.
Antimicrobial wipes or towelettes that contain a high percentage of alcohol are also effective at killing germs, experts say.
If your hands are clean, you can be extra courteous and hold open the door for the next runner instead of letting it slam.
DO alert others if a toilet is out of paper and/or is exceptionally gross7 of 8
"There's nothing worse than peeling off spandex in a hot box just to sit and see you have no tissue to clean yourself with," says Mary Perkins Tadlock, a 39-year-old runner from Watson, La.
To avoid this infuriating situation, she now brings in a half-full bottle of water in case she has to rinse herself.
So if you notice the absence of TP, warn the next folks in line.
If you come across a truly nightmarish porta-potty, make a loud announcement to everyone within earshot. You should also tell a race organizer or volunteer so it can be closed.