A lot more than last year, friends and acquaintances got into running and participated in the 4 races, marathon, halfmarathon, people race and even children race. Pardon, we did not! Neither Chuck Norris. Thus we have no tips and tricks for runners but some digests of what we've learned about how friends and family can best support their runners.
Let the runner find you.
It is extremely difficult to spot your favorite runner on the race. After the top 50, the crowds get quite thick, everyone looks the same and it's difficult to project when your friend will come by. What works much better is if your friend finds you. Tell them where you'll be, and they'll likely to find you. Even more, consider carrying something distinctive so they can spot you from a distance.
Come bearing gifts.
Usually what all your marathoner friends need from you is a big smile and words of ecouragement but there is a small chance they'll have a desperate look on their face, praying that you have in your possession whatever it is that they need (e.g., vaseline, a bandage to cover a blister, spretzels, something to sip).
Be prepared, and you'll be a hero if they need you, but know they probably won't, and don't be insulted if they just blow by. This is their moment!
DO NOT tell runners they are "almost finished" unless they are at Kilometer Marker 42.
Treat them gingerly at the end.
For most runners, the race is physically and emotionally exhausting and unnerving.
Talk, talk, talk.
Let the runner talk about the experience for several weeks. Be patient, is their time, let them enjoy it and relive it!
Photos courtesy of several Friends and Cluj International Marathon.