By Bruce Fordyce
Every tired runner knows how incredibly motivating a cheering crowd of spectators can be and many of the World’s major road races are famous for their crowd support. In South Africa the Two Oceans fans are most vociferous in Hout Bay and at the top of Constantia Nek the Comrades spectators are at their loudest at Camperdown Village, Cato Ridge, the bottom of Botha’s Hill, and 45th Cutting.
International marathons whose spectator support is renowned include The London and Berlin marathons. But having just returned from the New York marathon I have to say that the cheering crowds lining the streets of the Big Apple are the champions at lifting the flagging spirits of struggling marathoners.
The decibel levels peak as runners sweep off the 59th street (Queensboro) Bridge onto 1st avenue. The contrast between the silence high up on the Bridge as it takes runners away from Queens and the screaming din greeting runners as they start the Manhattan journey is staggering .
But for this tired runner the greatest encouragement came from the hundreds of posters and placards that were held high and waved frantically at all of us. Many were simple messages to loved ones;
“Go Dad” “Joni make us proud”, “You can do it Charlie”
But some were directed at all of us and these were my favourites;
“Toenails are for sissies” (As someone who has lost many a toenail I couldn’t help smiling at that one)
“5 miles til beer” (Held aloft at the 21 mile board)
“No more Bridges” (On each of the NYC Bridges there is a steep climb and there are 5 bridges to be summited during the race. This sign was waving as we descended the last of these bridges, The Madison Avenue Bridge)
“Who needs nipples?” (Another wry smile)
“Your brain has to have a chip missing to run 26 miles” (We know we are mad)
And my personal favourite;
“Complete stranger I am in total awe of you”
I enjoyed the race, loved the spectators , but I really treasured those waving posters and placards..
What are the your favourite motivational posters that you’ve seen? Let us know by commenting below!