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Joggling Etiquette Series Part 1 – How to line up for a race

This weekend I participated in the LaSalle Bank Shamrock Shuffle 8K. This is a huge race attracting over 30,000 runners and even more spectators. A great race for a juggling runner but also a tricky one.

In an effort to minimize hostility towards joggling here is ajuggling and lining up 3-part series on being a courteous joggler. Follow these tips the next time you’re juggling a race and you can make it a great experience for you, the spectators and all the other runners.

Where should a joggler start?

Properly lining up for a race is one of the keys to successful joggling. Depending on the size of the race you should line up at least 10 minutes (maybe more) before the race starts. You should also…

1. Line up in the right spot. Most big races line the runners up by their expected finish times. Even small races prefer to have the fastest people in front with slower people in the back. When juggling a race you should know approximately how fast you are going to run and line up accordingly. And unless you’re a really speedy joggler like Michal (nice race this weekend), you’ll want to start in the back. In fact, you should really start with runners who are a little slower than you. It’s much safer for a joggler to be passing people than to be passed.

2. Avoid the middle. One of the worst things you can do when lining up is to start in the middle. If you drop a ball from this position, it could be disastrous. At best you’ll probably lose your bean bag and have to run the race without juggling. At worst you could get trampled if you try to pick up the bag. Your best bet is to start off to one side. Here, there’s less chance of getting bumped and if you drop one recovery is much safer. Additionally, there is the added bonus of seeing more of the crowd. The reactions of the spectators to a juggling runner are priceless.

3. Watch for flying gear. At the start of a race like the Chicago Marathon runners traditionally will strip down to their running clothes just before the gun starts (or right after). They will then throw their clothes off to the side. They may also throw water bottles off to the side. You need to be aware of these flying missiles as they can directly affect your joggling.

The start of a race is the most dangerous for jogglers and the runners around you. As jogglers we do not want to be responsible for injuring another runner. And we certainly don’t want to create more running hostility towards us as we could easily get banned from these races.

In part 2 of the series we’ll look at joggling etiquette during a race.

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