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Race Rules, Guidelines, and Etiquette

In the interest of promoting an enjoyable running and racing experience for everyone, Running Zone Race Management encourages good runners’ etiquette. Whether running in a group or running alone, we ask that you follow the general rules and guidelines below.

Whatever the pace, wherever the race, manners matter.

Rules are subject to change at any time due to local/state restrictions or the needs of the event.



Every participant must run with the official bib number assigned.  Be sure to look at the label affixed to your number to check that your information is correct and that you are wearing the number assigned to you. Switching or selling a bib is prohibited without prior/explicit authorization of a race official. Having another person run with your assigned bib is forbidden. Your race number is required to always be visible during the race and attached to the FRONT of your shirt/shorts. This position is where the bib is most visible to photographers, race officials, video, chip timing equipment, and manual backup timing methods.

If you are not registered for the race, you are not allowed to participate in that event. Bandits are strictly prohibited. A bandit is anyone who participates in an event without registering and without a race number. This is not only a safety issue (as race officials are unable to identify bandits in the case of an emergency), but also a drain on course resources for paying participants. If caught, bandits will be asked to leave the course immediately.  Banditing may also impact a participant’s eligibility to participate in future races.

Participants must complete the entire course under his/her own power. If it is deemed that a participant did not complete the entire course under his/her own power, the participant will not be eligible for awards and will be removed from the official results.

No participant in the race will be allowed to be paced or given unauthorized aid by a person not officially entered in the race, whether on foot or by any other means, including bicycles, mopeds, scooters, motorized vehicles, etc.  Unauthorized assistance is grounds for disqualification. However, someone may be paced by another official participant provided that both participants abide by all race rules.

Any participant responsible for jostling, running across, or obstructing another participant as to impede his or her progress shall be liable for disqualification from that event.

No participant shall use any equipment which is determined to be improper by a race official, including but not limited to equipment that might provide an unfair advantage or endanger other participants.

Any participant who refuses to obey the directions of any event official, city official, or course marshal; conducts himself/herself in an unsportsmanlike manner; or is offensive by action or language to officials, volunteers, participants, or spectators may be disqualified by the event and from future participation, at the discretion of race officials.

All runners have a collective responsibility to keep the event safe. Races generally discourage running with strollers or headphones.  If you run with a stroller, you must start at the back of the start group and yield to all other participants. If you must run with headphones, please keep the volume low enough to hear vehicular traffic and instructions from law enforcement officers, volunteers, and race officials. Running with an animal is prohibited unless specifically and explicitly allowed by race officials.

Anyone wishing to participate in a race utilizing a wheelchair, hand cycle, other mobility assistance device or a service animal must contact race officials no less than 4 weeks before race day.


Overall winners will be scored by “gun” time.  Masters, Grandmasters, Senior Grandmasters, age group and team results will be scored by “net” time. Please see the bottom of this page for a detailed explanation of “gun” vs. “net” times.

Overall, Masters, Grandmasters and Senior Grandmasters winners are excluded from scoring in age groups.

Overall winners are excluded from scoring as Masters, Grandmasters or Senior Grandmasters.

Participants of any age are eligible for Overall awards.

Participants who are age 40 or older are eligible for Masters awards, if offered by the event.

Participants who are age 50 or older are eligible for Grandmasters awards, if offered by the event.

Participants who are age 60 or older are eligible for Senior Grandmasters awards, if offered by the event.

Wheelchair, hand cycle, or other mobility assistance device users are not eligible for Overall, Masters, Grandmasters, Senior Grandmasters, or age group awards.  These participants will be scored in separate categories.

Participants who ride in a stroller for any portion of the course will not be eligible for awards.

Rolling or time trial starts are scored entirely by "net” time.

Virtual participants are not eligible for in-person race scoring or awards.


Preregistration is greatly encouraged, even if same-day registration is offered. Please pick up your packet and bib number before race day, if possible. This will help ease the registration and packet pick-up process for everyone.

Check the registration information on the back of your bib number carefully. If you are picking up a bib number for another person(s), look at the label and distribute accordingly. The label on the bib number helps to ensure that the volunteer gave you the correct bib, the information given at registration is correct, and that bibs for a group are distributed to the correct registrants.

Arrive early for the event, especially if you are picking up your number on race day.

Use the facilities before the race starts to lessen the need once on course and help keep the facilities clean for others.

Line up according to how fast you plan to run or walk the event. Slower runners and walkers should move to the back of the race pack. Just because you arrived early does not mean you should be at the front of the starting line.

Pay attention to the pre-race instructions. This is NOT the time to be blaring your favorite song on your music device.


If you drop something as the race starts, don’t stop to pick it up! Wait until almost everyone has crossed the starting line; then retrieve it.

Don’t drop clothing on the course after you warm up. If you shed layers of clothing, tie them around your waist or place them on the side of the road where no one will trip over them. If you drop it, don’t expect to get it back.

Run or walk no more than two abreast. If in a group, do not take up the entire road. If you are walking in a group, stay to the back of the pack and follow the two abreast rule.

Do not block runners coming up behind you by swerving needlessly back and forth across the course.

Move to the side if someone behind you says, “Excuse me” or “On your right/left”. The person behind you is giving you a heads up before passing. It’s proper race etiquette to let that person pass you without blocking his/her effort.

If you need to tie your shoe or stop for any reason (phone call, nose blow, etc.) move to the side of the road and step off the course.

Pay attention to your surroundings. The course may or may not be closed to traffic.  It is your responsibility to watch for oncoming traffic.  Always be vigilant!

Yield the right of way to all police and emergency vehicles. Yield the course to wheelchair, hand cycle or mobility-impaired device athletes. You can change direction or stop more quickly than they can, especially on a downhill.

If younger children are participating in the race, discuss how to start slow and to line up according to the estimated pace per mile in the start area.  We time all events based on “net” time so starting towards the back of the corral does not negatively affect the overall time.  Also, educate your children to never stop abruptly during a race as a participant directly behind may fall as a result.  Let your children know to move to the side, slow down and then walk but not to stop without any warning.



When approaching an aid station to hydrate or re-fuel, move to the side and grab your fluid/nutritional needs from the volunteers or the aid tables then continue forward away from the volunteers or aid table.

If you need to stop at an aid station step to the side of the road and proceed to the aid station, but do not block others from accessing the aid tables or volunteers handing out fluids.

Throw your used cup to the side of the road away from the course, as close to an aid station as possible. Drop your cup from down by your waist as opposed to tossing it over your shoulder. The person behind you may not appreciate the shower if the cup is not empty.

Thank the volunteers supporting the aid station!

If you see someone in distress on the course, report the participant's number to the aid station and try to recall the approximate mile marker where you saw the participant.


If you neglected to leave your music device at home, now would be the most important time to remove your headphones.

Follow the instructions of the race officials at the finish.

If a friend or family member is running the last stretch with you and isn’t in the race, he/she should move off the course before the finish chute starts.

Once you have crossed the finish line, keep moving forward until the end of the finish chute.

Exit the chute and wait for friends or family in a central location.

Enjoy the post-race refreshments, but remember it is not an all you can eat buffet for you and your family.

Stay around for the awards ceremony to cheer for the overall and age group winners. Running is one of the few sports where the participants get to mingle closely with the event winners.

Be proud of your accomplishment!


Preliminary results are posted live online at for all our events. If you believe you may have won an award, view the results as soon as possible. If there are any discrepancies, let a race official know as soon as possible.  It is easier to correct problems before the awards ceremony has begun.

If you won an award, stay for the award ceremony. It is about you, after all.

If you feel you desere an award, but your name is not announced at the ceremony, don’t run on stage to debate the award with the announcer. The announcer usually reads the information given by the race officials. Find a race official to discuss the discrepancy.

If you missed your name being called during the award presentation, wait until after the award presentation is complete to ask for your award.

Remember no event is perfect and people work hard to make them safe and enjoyable. Most events are staffed primarily by volunteers, but there is always a race director or race official responsible for the event. If you have ideas for improving an event or concerns you would like to address, share them with the race director or race official positively and productively.


In most organized running and walking events, the results are displayed in an overall listing (first finisher’s time, 2nd finisher’s time, etc.) and an age group listing (Overall, Masters, Grandmasters, Senior Grandmasters, and age groups).  These listings allow a participant to know where he or she placed in the entire field of participants as well as in their age group and gender.

The age group results are typically used for calculating awards and this is where things can get interesting.  There are three different options throughout the race timing industry for calculating awards and age group results. Before we explain these methods, let us review the difference between “gun” time and “net” time.

“Gun” time is calculated from the time the race starts (in Running Zone Race Management’s case when the air horn blows) until you cross the finish line.  If you are in the back of the start corral, your gun time starts as soon as the race begins so if “net” results are not also calculated, you are being penalized for being further back in the start corral.

“Net” time is calculated from the time you cross the start mat (and your chip or tag reads) until you cross the finish line.  This allows for participants to line up according to his or her pace and your “net” time doesn’t start until crossing the start mat.

There are three options for timers and race directors to choose from when calculating awards for an event:

1. All awards and results are based on “gun” time. The “net” time may be displayed in the results for informational purposes.
2. All awards and results are based on “net” time.
3. Hybrid method – Overall awards are based on “gun” time and Masters, Grandmasters, Senior Grandmasters, age group, and team results are based on “net” time.

For Running Zone Race Management timed and management events, the hybrid method is used.  Here is our reasoning...  If a participant thinks he or she is going to be one of the top finishers, he or she is usually at the front of the start corral.  He or she also knows who they are competing against as others thinking the same way are at the front of the start corral too.  This is a competitive race, and you typically know who you are racing against.  When it comes to masters and age groups, it is more difficult to know who your competition is. So, the “net” time makes more sense for calculating awards and results.

To summarize, Running Zone Race Management’s awards are calculated as follows:

Overall Awards         Gun time
Masters Awards        Net time
Age Group Awards   Net time
Team Awards            Net time

Some timers who utilize chip timing equipment do not use start mats, only use mats at the finish, and produce “gun” times. Timers who use manual methods can only produce “gun” times. Also, the “gun” method is required, by rule, for USATF or World Athletics sanctioned championship races.

If your chip does not read at the start line, you will be assigned the “gun” start time as your “net” start time.  This means your “gun” and “net” times will be the same. The most common reasons your chip will not read at the start are: you go around the start mat, you obscure/wear your bib improperly, or you start late/after the start mats have been removed. Be sure to not place your arm, clothing, or electronic device over or under your bib number.


Running Zone Race Management measures courses in accordance with the guidelines set forth by USA Track and Field's, Road Running Technical Council.  We measure courses under the assumption that accuracy is of the utmost importance.  Courses are measured utilizing the calibrated bicycle technique, along the Shortest Possible Route, with the addition of the required Short Course Prevention Factor. While not all of our measured courses are submitted for USATF certification, all courses are measured using the same procedures and to the same standards.

Why does the advertised distance of the course not match your GPS watch?  GPS devices work by receiving signals from satellites. The quality of GPS units can vary, but all of them can be affected by conditions such as buildings or overhead tree cover that interfere with the reception of the satellite signals and cause them to be inaccurate.

Race courses measured by USATF procedures/standards are done by a proven method that incorporates the calibration of measuring devices against a steel tape and are verified by multiple measurements.

Race courses are measured along a well-defined path called the “SPR”—the Shortest Possible Route that a runner can run. Many call this "Running the tangents." Most runners don’t run the SPR. So, the distance recorded by a participant's GPS device will usually be longer than the certified length of the course, even though the course was properly measured along the SPR according to USATF rules.


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