Tips on being a spectator

Let’s face it- endurance sports aren’t spectator friendly.  Road or trail races, triathlons, and bike rides/races just aren’t easy on the bystander.  Over the last two years I feel as if I have become a professional spectator.  This morning I will be spectating yet another triathlon so I wanted to share some tips to make the most of your spectating experience.


1. Know the course Take a look at the course map before the race. Pick out a good spot that will allow you to see your athlete more than once or only when they are in transition. This may require you to walk around but it’s worth it to see your athlete several times!

2. Dress comfortably If you are moving around to see your athlete you need to be comfortable! When I’m picking my spectating outfit I usually chose being
comfortable over fashionable. Who am I kidding, I always pick comfort, but really, you don’t want to miss seeing your athlete because your shoes were uncomfortable.

3. Know your athletes paces Being in the right place isn’t going to matter if it’s at the wrong time. Ask them what pace they expect to run or how fast the will bike/swim so you know where to be and when.


4. Know what your athlete is wearing Sweaty people look alike. Okay more specifically sweaty boys in spandex on a bike look alike. Knowing what your athlete is wearing, what their bike/helmet looks like, will help you spot them more easily amongst the sea of athletes.

5. Have your camera on and ready If you want a good picture of a runner or cyclist you are going to have to be prepared! Getting a picture if a moving object is hard enough, so you need everything to be ready when you want it to be. If you wait until you spot your athlete to turn your camera on or get your phone out you are going to have a picture of your athletes back.

20140620-140547.jpg6. Bring someone along This one is crucial for me! Watching a toddler, trying to spot Colin (and our friends racing), and taking pictures is nearly impossible. I say nearly because I have had to so it before. Having extra sets of eyes will make spotting your athlete easier and gives you a better chance of getting a decent picture. Plus, once your athlete has passed by you’ll probably have some time to kill so having someone with you makes it much more enjoyable.

7. Cheer your head offThat’s really why we are spectating, right?? Wear fun t-shirts, make a sign, and cheer loud! Your athlete will love it and it will give them that extra boost to make it to the finish line.



Do you take good pictures at races? Mine are normally pretty bad!
What have you learned from watching races?

8 responses to “Tips on being a spectator

    • Haha I can understand where he comes from but I love the atmosphere at races so I love being there!

  1. These are great, but you forgot the classic “shout hilarious and inappropriate things at your person (and others) as they go by.” Giant foam fingers also help. See my post where I was cheering on Team Challenge.

    • If you’re mentally prepared to be bored then it doesn’t make it so bad. 🙂

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