How to cheer for a marathon

Just in case you’re wondering, here’s a handy list of cheers the runners really seem to like. It sure is nice to see them smile as you cheer. I mean, really; standing around for hours is hard work. Smiling is the least those lazy bastards can do.

Anyway, when you find yourself in such an obviously superior situation, try these handy yells. Oh, and cowbells will save your voice. That’s a free tip.

  1. Just say no to toenails! Just say no to toenails!
  2. Hey hey! Ho ho! Do that thing that rhymes with “fun”!
  3. Left foot, right foot! Left foot, right foot!Left foot, right foot!
  4. Runners are cool! Runners are cool!
  5. No! Sleep! Til Ben White! (Ben White*!)  *Or some other cross-street up ahead a ways.
  6. The “Charge” thing, if you lack a bugle. Duh-na-na-NA-nuh-na! Charge!
  7. Here we go runners, here we go! *clap, clap*

You can try the usual clapping and phrases like “You can do it! Good job, runners!” But one runner friend of mine, whom I often chase down with glitter signs and unicorn posters, says that just doesn’t do it for her. Make em laugh or smile or think, if possible. Or, if the race happens to be entirely peopled by Fox news devotees, just be loud.

A word on signs: remember that it’ll most likely be way too early for heavy literature. A name and a word will likely be all a runner can manage.

Don’t spend too long working out the details of the Mona Lisa of unicorns. You can see how my first attempt I tried for a unicorn in full run. It also featured a 3-D mane mane of ribbons, which just ended up obscuring the name. In the end, my friend saw “Run” and of course saw us and figured it out. Even though that unicorn was puking a rainbow and farting glitter (labeled with the word “fart”), it was ultimately a flimsy attempt.

My second attempt went better. It was faster to make (key for when you’ve ALSO got to get up early for your buddy/kid/SO/humanity) and utilized glitter. A lot. Did my friend notice the gold tooth, tattoo, or fierce determination in her unicorn’s blue, blue eye? Not until after, when she held its majesty in her hands. Some details are just worth the effort for yourself. But she did see her name and the one word I felt she needed to hear: badass.

The payoff.

For all you badass runners out there, way to go. For everyone trying to be badass, you’re badass for trying. Keep at it. Next cheer’s for you.

Extra: if you’re lucky enough, other runners you know will call you out from the race. That’s an extra good feeling. They like seeing you there, you like seeing them. It makes that 5am coffee taste all the sweeter.


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