Simple Service: Cheering runners in a race

Service Project: Cheering on runners in a race

Prep time: 5 minutes to find a race and look online for the course map

Cost: FREE

Duration: 5 min - 1 hour, or as long as you want to cheer people on

Lesson(s) learned: We can support other people in their achievements

How we did it:

Remember Kelli’s post about running/walking a race as a family?  That’s for you ambitious folks out there.  For those that need a smaller service project before they go sign up for a race, read on.

Have you met our Executive Director?  Miriam’s the mastermind behind Little Hands Can and a pretty sweet person all around.


What you may not know about her is that she’s also a great runner.  This spring she decided to run another half marathon and we wanted to show her our support.

That's Miriam on the right during a training run.

I checked the website for the race she’d chosen and found the course map.  Then I talked with her about her estimated pace and figured out about where she’d be at what time.  I did want it to be a surprise so I didn’t mention that we were planning to come cheer her on.

The longer the race and the farther into it you are planning to be, the harder it can be to estimate where they will be at any given time so plan on showing up earlier and cheering everyone on.  Or go to a race where you don’t know anyone participating and then you won’t have to do any planning.

Often friends and family of the athletes will congregate at the start and finish lines so it’s nice to pick a spot somewhere in the middle where people are apt to get less support and could really use some added motivation.  It can also make finding a parking spot easier.

Watching for the next runner.

We decided on a shady spot a few miles from the finish.  I wish we’d had time to make a sign cheering her on; we’ll do that next time.  I did, however, bring our cow bell to clang loudly as we yelled encouragement to the runners.  Anna was an enthusiastic cowbell ringer.

We enjoyed cheering everyone on.  We had ample time between runners to talk to Anna about how neat it was that they had worked hard at something, that they were now completing a big goal, and that we could be excited for their accomplishments.  Miriam was so surprised to see us!  That made it even more fun.

Anna’s friend, Janna, also got to cheer on runners recently at the Eugene Marathon.  They brought a sign and even got some runners smiling by giving out high fives.  So cute and I bet it distracted the runners from any aches or exhaustion they were experiencing!

Hope this inspired you to go find a race and cheer people on!  Even little hands can make a world of difference!