“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon,” wrote Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run Boston. With all due respect to the LEGENDARY Ms. Switzer, I’d like to amend her quote to, “If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and cheer for a marathon.” Cheer for everyone. The elites brushing past at a pace that seems untenable yet looks effortless. The people running in costumes. The total hardos. Cheer for every dang runner — down to the last person.

Folks, racing season is upon us once again. If you’re not training for something, you’ve likely heard a friend say one of the following phrases:

“I can’t … I’m racing tomorrow.”

“Oh, I want to but, I’m tapering.”

“Have you heard about [insert fun race here] I’m doing it, you should join!”

By the time spring rolls around and we begin to shake off the cobwebs from our dormant race shoes, it seems like everyone is signed up for something, right? Racing is fun. Racing is cool. Here are a few reasons why:

  • You can test yourself. First 5k? How about trying a new distance? How about shooting for a PR?
  • You can push yourself. This seem obvious, and we say it all the time (#raceeverything right?), but a spring race — given how varied the distances are, not to mention, how idyllic the conditions can be — is a tremendous opportunity to train hard, go all out, and really test your limits
  • You can scare the shit out of yourself. When was the last time you did something that truly, genuinely scared you? Racing is one of the last real fronts we have. To work harder than you ever have. To feel better than you’ve ever known. To fail — yes, that happens, and IT’S OKAY. We pick ourselves up, move on, and press forward.

So you abhor racing — you don’t like the anxiety that builds in your chest. You loathe the porta-potty situation. You’re injured this cycle. Ok, all good, I’ll capitulate. BUT BUT BUT … have you ever heard of CHEERING?!?!

Cheer stations are race season’s super-awesome cousin. You get the DOPE race atmosphere and vibe, AND you get to support others as they chase their goals. Cheer stations are amazing because:

  • You can see ALL YOUR FRIENDS. What better way to support your buddies who are spilling their guts on the course?
  • You can rep #NP_DC. Much like we #raceeverything, we also encourage y’all to #cheereveryone. Every single person who passes through, we want them to feel the love emanating from us. Want to get someone to love NP? Show that you love them and their efforts first.
  • IT.IS.FUN. This isn’t hyperbole. Cheer and water stations are very legitimate forms of Type 1 fun. The instant a runner comes through and grabs a water cup or thanks you for being there, that sensation reverbs. You get more hype, you put more positive energy out onto the course, runners feel that — the cycle continues. HOT DANG, what other activity is an instantaneous, positive feedback loop?

For those of you about to race, I salute you. Interested in signing up for a race?? Here’s a great list of some local, upcoming races (add your name beside the race you’re running!). For a guaranteed large NP crew, including the chance to meet members from many other NP tribes, sign up a relay team or run long yourself at the April 28 North Face Endurance Challenge! Maybe you are looking to cheer station it up this season? Awesome. The Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon & Marathon JUST SO HAPPENS to be next weekend on March 10, so let’s crush this cheer station.

You are worth the investment of a strong race, whatever the distance. You deserve to hear your name shouted LOUD from a cheer station. Here’s to seeing lots of both this race season.

much love, DC.

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