Motivating Others


A few months ago, I came across this article on Runner’s World website.  It was a debate about whether or not you should offer encouragement to other runners on a race course.

Each runner on the course has a personal goal, but we all have one goal in common: to cross that finish line.  I always felt like offering someone words of encouraging and motivating people was the thing to do, until it came back to slap me in the face.

I was at the tail end of the Chicago Marathon.  I knew this part of the course well because I had lived near it for two years.  We were approaching the corner of Roosevelt and Michigan and I knew the finish line was up over a hill and to the left.  The adrenaline had started to kick in as I got closer and closer.  I remember passing by a few runners and saying, “We did it, we’re almost done!” Not so much to keep them motivated, but to keep my own spirits up.  One girl (who was walking) was not so receptive.  She started yelling at me, saying that she was very familiar with the course and that she knows where the finish line was.  That shut me up quickly and I just kept running.  Since then, I have kept my motivating words to myself.

Last weekend, I was doing a marathon build up run with the Badgerland Striders.  We were approaching the end of our 10 miler and had a slow climb up the hill near UW-Milwaukee.  My goal was just to keep running as long as I could.  I got about 1/2 way up the hill before my legs (I thought) couldn’t do it anymore.  I had started to walk, got a few steps into it before I had a fellow strider say something to me, “We’re almost done, you have a 1/2 mile left you can finish this strong.”  She was right.  I had already run 9.5 miles what’s another half mile?  Instead of yelling at the runner, I said thank you and finished out the rest of my training run in a near sprint.  It was the words that I needed to hear to give myself that extra push.

So when it comes to running, or life in general, where do you stand on the motivation issue?  Would you rather people just keep to themselves or do you enjoy having a complete stranger come up and motivate you to finish strong?  


3 thoughts on “Motivating Others

  1. seetiffrun July 21, 2014 / 5:48 pm

    This is something I’ve thought of even while out running leisurely. I don’t know how many times I’ve waved or given a thumbs up at a fellow runner coming towards me to have them ignore me, lol. I guess some people don’t want to break their focus which is understandable. But personally, I do enjoy it. Those cheers by the onlookers near the finish line give me a boost of energy to sprint out of nowhere.


    • Maria C July 21, 2014 / 6:53 pm

      I completely agree! Even on my morning runs when I’m half asleep I still manage to get a race or a smile in to fellow runners. When I get it back it return it’s a Happy feeling!


  2. Rachel July 22, 2014 / 8:28 am

    Hmmm… that’s tough. I ran a 10-miler with a friend who was motivating everyone around us at mile 6, just after a 3-mile hill section of the race. I was not there mentally because I knew I still had 4 miles left. I think I would rather have the motivation be at the end of the race, like the last 200-400 m or so when I know I can truly finish, and not get duped by mental games. I should say, I like the cheers from the spectators. Those are fun most of the time.


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