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  •   Info for Spectators
    Root, Root Root for Your Runner

    Last year's winner, Weldon Johnson, had the ultimate support system – his twin brother ran and rode a bike along some of the course with him. That's impractical (and frowned upon by the Marines) for middle-of-the-packers, but friends and loved ones can offer valuable mental and physical support in other ways:

    1. Bring a boom box and crank up some running music. Try for something other than "Chariots of Fire" or the theme from "Rocky" – many others already have thought of those.

    2. Wave a flag instead of a sign. Your runner will spot it above the fray and will quickly find you at the finish line.

    3. Surprise someone. Show up where you are least expected. After cheering at the Capitol, you can easily reappear at the 14th Street Bridge.

    4. If you plan to zip around the city to see your runner at several points, consider buying an all-day Metro fare card. If you and your runner plan to take the Metro home after the race, buy your farecards ahead of time; lines to buy farecards after the marathon can get quite long, especially at the Rosslyn station.

    5. Carry supplies for your runner: a few bottles of water, a bandanna or small towel, maybe a banana or an energy bar. Even if your runner doesn't request them ahead of time, those supplies may prove to be much needed.

    6 Don't just cheer for your runner; cheer for everyone.

    7. Don't fib. "You're almost there," won't inspire anyone at Mile 12. "Water just ahead," will crush a thirsty runner who finds out that water is another mile down the road.

    8. Take tons of photos. Your loved one will cherish pictures taken along the route. Capture the scene with all the other runners too, just in case your runner is too tired to notice the crowd.

    9. Have some soft slippers and peppermint foot lotion in the car.

    10. Tell your runner she was awesome and convince her to register for another marathon before her calves tighten up.

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