Race day practicalities

This might be a little dense, but thought I'd ask anyway: when going on a race on your own where no bag storage is offered - what do you do with your things during the race? There are two races in nearby towns I'm interested in, and I would like to spend a couple of hours there after the races to explore them, too, so would need a few things. And using public transport means I don't have a car to leave them in.

Secondly, is there any forum or website for runners to arrange liftshares to get to races? After taking part in Race for Life last year, my friend and I thought that it would be easy to get a lift from the venue to the next town (which had a train station), seeing that everyone had to go that route anyway. At least 70 cars passed us before someone offered us a lift though, so it seems runners don't trust fellow runners any more than they would the random stranger on the road after all.

And what about showers? How are they like at races - big tents with a hundred showers, or does one get some privacy, too? And if there are no showers at a race - what do people do in that case? Just go sweaty all day? Perhaps not too ideal, seeing that I'd like to take races as opportunities for a daytrip. Someone suggested joining the local gym as a day member to me for both bag storage and showering, but the race fees and a train ticket would more than my usual budget allows already.

Would be great if anyone felt like sharing their experiences - thanks! And sorry for asking stupid questions. image


  • not stupid at all

    races do vary in their facilitis, and do assume people come by car unfortunately

    how about using left luggage at a ttrain station?

    Wet wipes are good if you cant shower

    as far as a lift sharing website goes, this website will let you know about runners in your area, and in the race section theers something for lift sharing


  • Showers tend to be available only when the race HQ is at a school or sports centre.  I've never seen specially set-up showers.

    I think a lot of races have some kind of bag storage, but it's unlikely to be secure, so don't leave valuables in your bag.

    As Hippo says, wet wipes are an alternative - better than nothing, anyway.

    Why would you trust 'fellow runners' any more than random strangers?  They are just random strangers who happen to run.  Please don't get into a car with strange man just because he's wearing shorts!

  • Thank you, Plodding Hippo and Wilkie!

    Will get some wet wipes then. image

    Plodding Hippo, thanks also for that link. Hope I can manage to find my way round that site (and perhaps even find a lift to the race I'm thinking about in September).

    I find left luggage at train stations quite expensive - and then it's only the bigger towns/cities which have these facilities at all. Are there people who run races with (small) backpacks then?

    Wilkie, I have been to numerous events for people with other shared interests before, and never had a problem finding a lift, have shared food, made friends, took people to my house etc, so that's why I had thought finding a lift from a race would be possible, too. Of course, I'm aware that this is all a matter of common sense and good judgement etc.

    I accompanied my father to a marathon in Germany once, where they had set up two massive shower rooms especially for the race, so was wondering whether this was common, hence my question.

  • JoolskaJoolska ✭✭✭

    I don't drive and have similar problems with races.  I tend to end up doing local races, or find races which are within walking distance of stations/bus stops (or have a slightly longer warm-up jog from the station; there are running-specific back packs - mine is a Salomon - which will hold a spare pair of trainers, a change of clothes and some food comfortably but don't weigh very much).

    As Wilkie and Plodding Hippo have said, most races will have somewhere you can leave bags, even if it's not totally secure, but I would recommend that you take cash to cover expenses if possible, or only 1 bankcard and leave anything else in your wallet at home.  That said, in 6 years' racing I've never had anything stolen from bag storage.

    I've never come across specially set up showers at a race.  Looks like your father was lucky at that marathon!  Wet wipes are indeed your answer.

  • Thanks to you too, Joolska! I wouldn't mind taking trains to a race - if it wasn't for most races to start too early for public transport to get there on a Sunday. image
  • yes, its a bloody pain about trains on sundays isnt it

    i have now learnt to drive, but often i had to go down the night before and stay over

  • Staying over sounds like a nice weekend out, but unfortunately, it's still more expensive than bag storage at a train station. image The other thing is that I have something else on on Sunday mornings as well. But then I'm not going to suddenly start racing like mad, so won't be missing out too often. Do you know why most races are on Sunday mornings instead of e.g. Saturday mornings or even weekday nights - is it to do with road closures again? But then, that's not needed for smaller or trail races or in rural parts...
  • Hi CC

    I'm going to make the suggestion that I normally hate reading*, but have you thought about joining a club ? That way you could possibly arrange lifts from fellow members thus cutting out the bag storage problem as well.

    When I first started "racing" (not exactly an accurate descriptionimage) I was confined to local races that didn't need a lot of traveling as I had no car, and public transport from home was virtually non existent before half nine. I then joined a club and was able to arrange to travel further.

    *Clubs do not suite everyone, for various reasons, that is why I dislike people suggesting clubs as an answer to all problems.

    BTW, there are quite a few races now held on Saturdays, it's just finding them.
    Sunday was always the traditional race day because, in the days before DIY stores and supermarkets were allowed to open, the roads were less busy (hence less "disturbance" for locals).

  • Thanks, Muzzy! As mentioned before, I'm completely new to racing (and running in general), so I'll see how it goes and then perhaps have a look into clubs next year. Good suggestion though.

    Another thought: does it happen that car-less runners ask a random person with a car to keep their bags for the duration of a race, or would people think one was either a terrorist or incredibly impolite and cheeky? (By the way, it's not that I'm totally inept at social situation, but these things tend to be highly culturally coded, which makes it slightly more difficult for a foreigner not to make a fool of themselves at times. So, better safe than sorry. image)

  • I would be very reluctant to look after a bag for a stranger if I was asked, CC, although I can't quite put my finger on why!

    What if they couldn't find you after the race?  What if they were a terrorist? image 

    I think you'll find that there will be somewhere to leave bags - check with the race organisers in advance, or on the RW events section?

  • I emailed the organiser of a race and she said there wasn't anywhere to leave bags, that's why I was wondering.

    Hmm, interesting thought - if they were a terrorist though, I guess my bag would be safer in their car than I'd be on the course with them. image 

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