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10 Things You Can Do to Show Good Sportsmanship and Good Will on Race Day

Race day is a super special time for athletes. For many, it’s an opportunity to go for a personal best, beat last year’s times, or even just finish their first ironman race. In the midst of the thrill of finishing, sometimes it’s worth stopping (just for a few seconds) to smell the flowers and enjoy the moment.

What do I mean by this? There are times when we should spare a few seconds of our race day for good will and good sportsmanship. If you encounter any of the following situations on your race course, slow down and do the right thing. I promise you it will be worth your time!

1. Thank the Police, fire fighters, paramedics, boy scouts and any other volunteers you come across. They’ve been up since the crack of dawn so you can be out racing and they aren’t getting paid. A thank you goes a long way to express your gratitude.

2. Let the kids squirt you with their giant water guns. They love doing it and you’ll get a kick out of how happy it makes them. Some of them will ask, but if they don’t, take it with a grain of salt and enjoy the cool water in your face.

3. Unless you’re going for a podium finish, don’t speed up when someone has been in the draft zone wanting to pass you. Let them pass and be done with it. If you still have some grit you can pass them later.

4. If someone sprints to the finish and passes you, congratulate them at the end. Instead of being bitter, thank them for pushing you throughout the race.

5. If someone kicks or elbows you in during the swim, don’t hold onto anger and cuss them out during transition. Just make sure you smoke check them on the bike so you won’t see them again.

6. Encourage someone else, especially if you see them struggling. Kind words, a kind gesture goes a long way in boosting someone’s spirits.

7. Stop and hug your kids, spouse or other loved ones. The few seconds you stand with them for a photo will be made up with the boost of energy it gives you to continue on.

8. Pet your dog and give him some love. He is one of your biggest supporters.

9. Don’t leave a mess for anyone else to clean up. Throw away your trash in transition and while on the course. No one likes to pick up after other people.

10. After you cross the finish line, cheer for others as you cool down and walk around. This shows good sportsmanship and a good attitude.

And if your coach is at the finish watching you cross, make sure you give him/her a hug. Trust me, it means so much. No one wants to see you succeed as much as your coach.

Thinking about hiring a coach for your next iron distance event? Message me HERE for a free 15 minute call so we can talk about your goals!

Mary Timoney

Ironman University Certified Coach

ACSM Personal Trainer

USA Cycling Coach


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