Marathon spectating

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So, as you might have guessed, I am back from an awesome weekend in Brighton. Andy was excellent as support crew, walking to several points on the course and snapping away with his fancy camera (which at some point he will email to me…), and my parents came down to watch the finish, and to help me hobble around after. I will of course have an extremely long post coming, but in the mean time, I have a guest post about spectating races:

Make Marathons Fun for Everyone with’s Marathon Bingo

We all love the strength and support we get from friends when we compete in marathons, but let’s face it: marathons aren’t always a fun experience for spectators. In fact, they can be pretty boring, because attending a marathon as a spectator usually means standing around all day waiting for you to run past them. In fact, the only comfort that people get from watching marathons comes from looking at all the different kinds of people participating. After all, there can be quite a few interesting people running in marathons, and they’ve been a source of laughs and inspiration for many racers and spectators alike in the past.

In this day and age, we have smartphones to keep us busy, but not everyone wants their friends to be fiddling with their phones when they’re supposed to be watching a race. Instead, offers an alternative – a game that makes even watching a marathon fun and competitive: Marathon Bingo.

marathon bingo

I love this Bingo card, and actually think if you are running a race it would be good to play too. On Sunday I saw a barefoot runner, a few tutus, lots of high fiving (I high fived Jo Pavey woohoo!), a man laughing to whatever he was listening to, a man punching the air in front of him for about a mile, some very cool running socks and shoes, and although no upside down numbers I saw lots on backs instead of fronts- you have to keep your mind busy somehow!

Bingo has been used for many sporting events in the past. Mashable introduced a fun way of watching gymnastics competitions with Gymnastics Bingo, and even Betfair ran special promotions in line with sporting events like the Masters. Marathon Bingo is a simple game, and all you really need to do is print out the card provided by for your friends.

At the event, give out the cards, and challenge them to be the first to complete a bingo pattern by picking out the items on the list from the crowd. It’s an entertaining way to pass the time, and if you want to create your own cards, you can use an app like Bingo Card Generator to easily make custom cards too. The app is straightforward and easy to use, and it can even help you involve your friends in the card-making process. Ask them what they expect to see in the race, put these things in the bingo card, and print out several sets so your friends can use them at your races.

How do you keep your friends entertained when they come to watch you race? We’d love to hear your ideas!

Normally we don’t tend to have spectators at races- on a few occasions Andy’s parents have come to the finish line, and my mum was there for our first half marathon. Usually either we both run the race, so I know Andy will be at the finish, or it is just me running, with Andy either watching (if we have gone somewhere for the weekend) or him waiting at home (if it is a local race). It was really great having people to look out for at the weekend, and luckily there were bands playing and a big screen at the end to keep them occupied.

Do you tend to have people coming to watch you race, or do you tend to run alone?

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6 thoughts on “Marathon spectating”

  1. My other half doesn’t really spectate anymore unless we are travelling for a race, he just finds it boring, and I feel mean making him stand around for 4+ hours etc, so I don’t mind racing alone at all.

    1. Yeah I can understand that it is not the most entertaining thing to watch, especially if it was a route away from a town or something. I think Brighton was good because there were lots of out and back bits, so there would always be runners going past wherever you stood.

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