Running Etiquette vs. Selfies

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Brambelton 5K

Race Etiquette 101: After crossing the finish line of my first 5k, I pulling off to the a designated spot to out of the way of other runners so my husband could snap this shot.

When running a 5K it never dawned on me to stop, take my iPhone out of my carrier belt and snap a selfie of me.  That’s not why I run. Sure I had my husband take a photo of me crossing the finish line for my first 5k — that was a big deal to me.

I’ve run other 5k races since and not once did I stop in the middle of the course to snap a photo.

Well apparently it is becoming a problem. More people stopping mid race — in front of other runners — to take a selfie. There will always be rude people who are so self-absorbed they are inconsiderate of others. But apparently it is dramatically on the rise in races thanks to smartphones.

Race organizers are trying to come up with solutions to this problem — no selfie sticks allowed (good start!), redesigning courses to allow selfie areas (fine), and “discouraging” runners from taking selfies or social media updates mid race (ugh!).

I think when idiots like this get their 15 minutes of fame by taking selfies of unsuspecting “hot guys” during the New York City Half Marathon, racing organizers are going to have to do more than “discourage” these folks. When media like Good Morning America covers a story like this because “oh how cute” expect more of this crap to happen. Unfortunately I think it’s going to take a serious injury for it to happen.

Racing Etiquette Vs. Narcissism
My guess the selfie folks who do this are not what I would call serious runners — people who race for hardware (trophies) or looking to set the land speed record. Heck, I wouldn’t classify myself as a serious runner.  I ran my first 5K to see if I could do it. I did and now I enjoy running. People like me are leisure runners — we do it to have fun, hang with friends, get in some exercise. We’re the audience for themed events like The Zombie Run, The Color Run and mud races.

So if you want to take a selfie, go right ahead, but be mindful of others around you. When I ran a mud race, my husband took photos of me at each obstacle. I didn’t stop mid obstacle to pose. I finished what I was doing, walked over to the side of the course — out of other runners’ way — and let him take a post obstacle photo. Only once did I stop at the end of a particularly tough obstacle — to catch my breath. Yes, I waved at my husband but first I made sure I was out of other people’s way. Pretty damn simple!

Before my first 5K, I researched not only what to expect from the race itself, but also basic running/racing etiquette. The last thing I wanted to do was cause an injury or screw up someone actually racing for hardware or trying to improve their time.  Again, pretty damn easy…just ask the Google!

Unfortunately with the rise of social media and cameras everywhere we’re also seeing the rise in narcissistic behaviors. While most of these folks are not true narcissists (many probably just want a physical memory of the fun they had), they are too busy trying to capture themselves perfectly that they tend to ignore everything and everyone around them.

My hunch is this is about to get a lot worse before it gets better.


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