One Spectator Sign at a Time: Ideas & Inspiration for Your Next Sign

Rate this Article:
If you can't run, spectate! One Spectator Sign at a Time: Ideas & Inspiration for Your Next Sign

Even if you have never ran a half or full marathon, you are probably aware that they are not exactly a walk in the park (metaphorically or literally, unless your marathon route goes through a park and you choose to walk that stretch…in which case you are quite literally walking through a park). Sure, there are things we as runners can do to make the miles go by a little smoother. First off, adequate training is obviously critical.  So is running with good form.   Focusing on getting in good nutrition the week (but especially the day before and the morning of) can also really make a huge difference in how you will perform in the race.  And then there is always the race itself.

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Marianne Lane

One component of racing that really is not only a great and fun motivational component, but also pretty unique and special to the sport of running, is the encouragement and support from spectators who line the race route to cheer you on. People love running for a multitude of different reasons, but one is definitely because of the community you become apart of. Runners get it – running is hard, and you need encouragement from friends and family. And one of the best parts about being a spectator is that you can come up with some really fun and funny signs that might just be exactly what a runner needs on at mile 20 of 26.2 when they are struggling to make it up the last major hill. If you need some good ideas for what signs to hold up during your town’s next race, check out some of our ideas below!

General Signage

If you are just a spectator who is otherwise unaffiliated with anyone running the race (i.e., you just happen to live in a city or town with a popular race and, though you don’t personally know anyone running, you still want to partake in the festivities), consider a generic sign that support all the runners. The obvious ones are simple. Every runner can use a “Good job, Runner!” or “Keep it Up!” but you can also get more creative. Start with the city you live in or the theme of the race itself, if there is one. For instance, if you are spectating a holiday or Santa fun run, consider a festive sign like “Jingle All The Way To The Finish Line!” and “Race Finishers Are On the Nice List!”  And for Turkey Trots why not a  “Wobble So You Can Gobble” and “Will Run for Turkey.” It also always a good idea remind runners that, when they are done, there is plentiful food and drink to consume! Here are some general marathon and half marathon sign ideas:

  • Do-Nut Give Up (with a tempting picture of a donut)
  • Keep Running – There Are Free Bananas At the End
  • There is No Time To Be Walken (with a picture of Christopher Walken)
  • Run Like There’s a Hot Guy In Front of You and a Creepy Guy Behind You
  • Smile! You Paid Money To Be Here!
  • At Least You’re Not At Work
  • Motivation: You Can Switch To Beer at Mile 26.2
  • Don’t Poop Yourself
  • Chafing the Dream
  • The End is Near
  • Worst Parade Ever

Motivational Signs for Your Significant Other

  • My Wife’s Legs Are Hot
  • That Fuel Belt Makes Your Butt Look Great
  • I Love Number [insert race bib number]!
  • You’re Hot When You Sweat!
  • I Think You’re Hotter Without Toenails Anyway
  • On a Scale of 1 to 10 My Boyfriend is a 13.1
  • My Husband Has Great Stamina and Endurance

Motivational Signs for A Family Member

  • Hurry Home Mama! We’re Hungry!
  • Proud Family of [insert race bib number]!
  • Wife? Check. Mom? Check. Job? Check. Queen of the House? Check. Marathon Runner? Check. THERE’S NOTHING SHE CAN’T DO!
  • My Parents Run Marathons. My Parents Are Cooler Than Me.
  • My Son is Faster Than Your Son

And if you REALLY want to get into it, don’t just make a sign but go the whole nine yards! Have a theme to your sign and your outfit! For instance, (and this really happened at a half marathon I ran) get some friends who are as crazy as you to find monkey or gorilla costumes. Then buy a bunch of bananas and set them out on a table along the race route, and make signs that coordinate. (I.e. “Marathon Running is Bananas” and “No Monkeying Around, Marathon Running is Serious Business”). Strategically place yourself along an especially difficult portion of the race route to give those runners suffering through something to smile about!

Bottom line is if there’s a race near your home that you just can’t run or don’t have the time to train for, be a spectator! Runners understand the type of motivation other runners need most of all.


  1. Runner's World Editors, Funny Running Race Signs, RUnner's World Blog
  2. Jenny Sugar, When the Going Gets Tough, Show Them One of These Marathon Posters, POPSugar Blog Article
  3. Adam Levine, Turkey Trot Sayings & Slogans,