Thing #1 : Why do some people insist on lining up at the front of the race when they know they're not going to finish anywhere near the top 100? Besides being detrimental to the runners who need to get around them, it also puts them at a disadvantage. Many people around them are running fast and they might get sucked up in a fast pace they can't sustain. I guess I'd rather have them get caught up in the moment and run too fast because that at least thins them out and makes them easier to pass. Unfortunately, only about half of the people who line up in front run too fast. The rest just go along at 9 minutes a mile for a 5k, usually shoulder-to-shoulder with their friends, making it extremely difficult for anyone to get around them.
Thing #1b: Why do walkers line up anywhere within the front third of the starting line? I guess this question pretty much answers itself: They're walkers and they have no idea that there's people trying to run fast to place in their age groups or PR. For the most part I give these people a pass, although they could at least try to stay off to the side. Have you ever seen walkers off to the side at the start of a race? No, they're always right in the middle of the thing. When I ran the Fools 5 in Lewiston I thought the way the had the start was genius. There were big signs that said things like "fast runners" and "competitive runners" at the front and "joggers" and "walkers" at the back. I was running with my wife near "joggers" and we probably passed about 50 walkers in the first mile. Maybe they didn't see the signs.
Thing #2: Why do people throw half-filled cups of blue Powerade behind them in a marathon with 10,000 runners, 6,000 of which may be directly behind you? Powerade is sticky--please don't throw it at me.
Thing #3: Huge fuel belts for a 5 mile race--a race that has two water stops. I guess it doesn't affect me so if you wanna carry 5 extra pounds of water--whatever.
OK, I guess that about does it. For all these things newer runners get a pass. If you've ran more than 3 races please look around at the annoyed faces of other runners as you and five other runners create an impassable mass at a water stop as you slow to a walk--I'm talking to you. If you're flinging blue Powerade at anyone who tries to pass you and your posse--I'm talking to you.