a group of people holding motivational signs along the race course


  • Make noise to encourage the runners: cheer, clap, play music, or make your own music.
  • Identify with the runners. They are completing a very difficult task. Praise the runners individually.  Many runners will have their names on their bib. (Ex: “Go number one! You’re doing great!”) He or she will truly appreciate it.
  • Stay positive in your cheering. (No ‘boo’s, please!)
  • Locate your cheering section on a hill or more challenging portion of the course. These are the places that the runners will need the most encouragement.
  • Make distinctive signs and move to different locations throughout the course. Believe it or not, runners will remember you and it will encourage them to keep going.
  • Do something to make runners smile. Laugh, sing, dance, or do tricks such as juggling. It may put the runners at ease for a few moments.
  • Have a party with friends and/or neighbors if the course travels past your area.


  • Prepare for the weather. It may be cool in the morning but warm up by noon. You want to be sure to be able to stay to cheer on the runners in the back of the pack as well.
  • If you see a runner who appears to need some help or medical attention, please try to remember his or her race number and inform a course monitor or fluid station volunteer. If the runner’s injury looks serious, please try to find a police officer on the course.
  • Please do not crowd the runners by standing in the street, especially in the earlier miles. This may cause a backup for the runners and make the marathon more difficult.
  • If a runner does not smile back or talk to you, please do not take this personally. The runner may be deep in concentration, fatigued, or in pain. Lack of response is usually not for lack of appreciation.
  • There is plenty of water on the course at the fluid stations, but if it is a warm day, a runner may ask to be sprayed down with a hose. However, be certain that he or she is asking to get wet before spraying them.
  • Keep in mind that the runners in the back of the pack need the most encouragement, as they will be out there the longest. Be sure to cheer for them as well!