11 Spectator Tips for Race Day

April 12th 2019

By Linda Hill
Categories: Triathlon Training

11 Spectator Tips for Race Day

Are you reading this as an athlete or a spectator?

If the answer is as an athlete – knowing you will have a spectator on race day – pass this blog on! But… continue reading so you can pick up tips for the future or to help understand the involvements others have on your race days.

If you are reading it as a spectator, keep reading to find out our 11 top spectator tips for a successful, organised and stress-free day at the races.

The spectator’s role is more important than given credit for!

You are effectively going to be the “support crew” of your athlete(s)!

You will be your partners / friends / family members (let’s call them “athletes” for ease) motivational booster and guardian for the day. When your athlete(s) are tired and needing a boost, they’ll turn to you. When your athlete(s) are nervy, flustered and even exhausted, you are going to be there to assist and guide them.

However, you can only do these things effectively if you also look after yourself!

Over the years we have not only trained and raced, we have been spectators (support crews) too. On these occasions, we made mistakes/misjudgement, learnt and adapted so that next time things went smoother. For us and our athlete!

The top spectator tips

The following 11 tips will turn you into the ultimate self-sufficient and appreciated spectator:

  1. Be patient with your athlete(s)

Out of all the spectator tips, this is the most important!

The person/people you are supporting are very likely to be nervous leading up to start of the race, so be patient and support them as needed. Learn and accommodate their needs; some people talk lots while other need their own space. Some become “giddy” and playful while other become assertive and irritable. Watch their behaviour, and if you are supporting a spouse or family member you may or may not be surprised, but nerves show themselves in many ways.

Listen and learn for your own sake and don’t take any of it personally!


  1. Know what’s available and where to find it – for your comfort and entertainment

Depending on the race distance, there could be a fair amount of downtime between spectator “duties”. Make sure you find places to visit while the race unfolds. Cafés, restaurants, shops, exhibition tents, etc will give you a place to rest and stay entertained.


  1. Recce / learn where key race points are located

Start, transitions, finish, turn points, etc are the places you will get the best view and are ideal for providing valuable motivation.


  1. Estimate time to be at key race points

Being at the locations (listed in the point before) on time is tricky. Always aim to arrive in good time, in case of faster performances. It’s better to be there a little early and see your athlete pass than to arrive late and miss them. If you arrive late and miss them, one of two things will happen:

  • You’ll feeling guilty
  • You’ll worry about the athlete’s wellbeing because you don’t know where they are


  1. Take food/drink for yourself

Keep yourself fuelled and hydrated, just like the athletes you’re there to support. Factor in the weather and conditions too.


  1. Take suitable clothing/climate precautions

Just like the athletes you’re supporting, plan – don’t get caught out by heat waves or storms! Pack and take sun cream, hats, sunglasses, coats, umbrellas, etc.


  1. Take a camera and be the photographer

The official event pictures are great but can be expensive. This spectator tip will add more focus and enjoyment to your day too!

Either take a camera or use your phone to act as your athlete(s) photographer, this will provide memories of the day. Think about your positioning and the background to your camera so you can capture some great moments.


  1. Pack your athletes’ favourite snack

This will be a great treat and help refuel them after the event, they’ll have deserved it. Take it as a surprise for bonus points!


  1. Surprise your athlete(s) with a banner/poster/etc

Prepare a banner, poster or have something “stand out-ish”. It will heighten your visibility and let your athlete(s) know you are there to boost their state of mind and performance


10.Use a double shouldered rucksack

With all the kit and provisions you’ll be taking, you’ll need a comfortable and efficient way of carrying it. Using a double strapped rucksack will distribute the load and make it easy to transport. Don’t forget to take your own entertainment too – books, magazines, kindle, music, etc.


  1. Wear comfortable and worn-in shoes

There could be a lot of time standing and walking, make sure you are wearing a trusty pair of shoes that you know will provide comfort and support – there’s nothing worse than achy feet or blisters half way though the event!


Being a spectator IS an important role, they play a much bigger role than athletes give them credit for! They are the support crew and guardians for a day.

If you are going to be spectating in the coming season, learn from our years of being involved with sports and apply these 11 spectator tips. Simple and logical, but easily forgotten. Everyone, you and your athlete, will have a more enjoyable day.