I've been running marathons for years. Over the past 5 or so years, I've noticed an increase in the number of walkers and slower marathoners. I am impressed by the diligence and determination shown by these participants.
One complaint I have heard many runners express concerns "course blocking." I think this is something all participants need to be aware of, regardless of ability. From personal experience, I have been frustrated with walkers "spreading out" over the course to walk together. While I understand the need to be social and support each other, it makes it hard to pass effectively. I have had to jump onto a median to pass, yell excuse me! several times, and sometimes rudely shove my way through. I have also seen runners do the same thing, so it's not just the walkers! To all, regardless of ability, be polite. Make sure if you are walking/ running in a group, be aware and allow enough room for others to pass.
Race directors: please make sure that there are enough "goodies" at the finish line so our walking friends get support, too. In one marathon, I had a friend who was walking. The finish area ran out of gatorade and food. I went to a store to purchase some for my friend when he finished. I know how much good finish line support adds to your recovery.
This is a great sport, and I am very encouraged to see so many people participating.
Let's all have a fun and safe fall marathon season.
Keep on moving!
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