Top 10 Worst Spectator Chirps

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Top 10 annoying running chirps Spectators: bless their souls.

They’re local angels, providing support, water and motivation to keep you going.

But not always.

Sometimes we just want to smoosh their smily, sweat-free faces in.

Here are our worst 10 things a spectator can say while running!

10 – You’re looking good!

9 – Why are you walking?

8 – Want a boerie roll?

7 – Just rest here for a minute.

6 – You’re nearly at the top.

5 – It’s all downhill from here.

4 – Not long to go, now.

3 – Hamba! Hamba! (Ed’s note: This one makes my blood run cold!)

2 – The waterpoint’s around the corner!

1 – You’re almost there.

Have someone shouted something at you that grated your soul? Let us know! Either comment on the story below or send us a mail. We’ll add it to the list!

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62 Responses to Top 10 Worst Spectator Chirps

  1. Lebone December 20, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    With the world cup around the corner, I heard a lot of “Can you feel it? It is here. Durban is here”. Those spectators were lucky my fuel belt wasn’t big enough for a semi-automatic, otherwise, I’d be in jail for mass murder right now.

  2. Catherine Bristow December 20, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    Are these things said really all that bad? The fact that they’re out there supporting runners should be applauded. Most of these standard lines sound pretty positive to me and I’ve run my fair share of races – talk about having nothing better to write about…

    • Avatar of Runners World
      Runners World December 20, 2010 at 5:13 pm #

      This was written tongue-in-cheek, earlier this year, with reader input.

      As mentioned in the article, we love the spectators! Whether it’s a spectator or your long-time running buddy, sometimes there are things that people say that are simply at the wrong time.

      • Charmain Shandu December 24, 2010 at 10:49 am #

        I love the spectators as well, but if you are having a bad race, a gentle applause when I run past is all that I need, not lip. No matter how well intended it is.
        At the Chatsworth Ultra someone blew a vuvuzela right next to me and I was almost frightened to death!!!! I’m proudly Black and each member of my family right down to my 4 year old daughter own and can blow that colourful & loud instrument which got used vigorously during the world cup and on any soccer match when Kaizer Chiefs play, But on that day my already strained and overworked heart couldn’t take it and I felt silent tears running down my face. Did I mention that I was having a bad race? Needless to say, from that point onwards things got worse for me and I ended up in the medical tent with a groing injury. Blowing that vuvuzela unfortunately deflated my spirit. I am sure my roadside fan just wanted to cheer me on, but eishhhh

        • Maryke May 29, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

          Hahahahaha I realy enjoyed your post!

      • clive mortimer September 23, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

        i was walking through Hillcrest on the Comrades down and really feeling bad when a local said ” i was looking terrible and i also did not have enough time to finish with 30km or so to go”
        Just the motivation that I needed at that time when this is a real possibility.
        I kept on however and finished!!

    • DehanL February 3, 2012 at 10:40 am #

      I totally agree. I must be weird or something, but nothing pumps me up like a “‘Looking good man!”or a “Just a few Kay’s left, push!” from a spectator. Although, it is much sweeter to hear from a fellow runner as you pass them.

    • Lollos Rodseth February 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

      I agree!! I think when spectators become personal, that is a no no. I once ran a race when I was much younger, fitter and in good shape. A HUGE woman said to her daughter: “I suppose we can also start running, look at that woman’s cellulite!!” and she pointed to me.

      Ha ha, what can I say??

      • Josephine June 6, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

        hahahahahahaha, this one kills me. I look 18 and spectators always say why do I let old people overtake me.

    • Estelle Bullen February 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

      Imagine how boring races would be without the spectators and their motivational chirps!

      If you don’t feel good during a race and get told “you looking good” take it as a compliment. Runners are friendly, if you have a bullfrog attitude, don’t run!

      Thanks spectators for all your talk and support, especially on Comrades, it makes the race shorter and more enjoyable.

    • David Ives April 29, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

      I agree. Yes, some of them are lame, but at least the spectators are there…
      In fact I probably chirp them more than I get chirped.
      Instead of writing a lame article with a top-10 that was not really thought about… why not give some of your preferred chirps.

    • sipho mzizi September 23, 2013 at 8:20 am #

      All these lines sound positive to me. I would have quit running if there were no spectators.

  3. Caroline December 24, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    I ran the Comrades for the first time in 2010. For training, I ran over 1050 km worth of races. That is a huge number of races. And of course I hear those cheers from the spectator crowd all the time. All Top 10 of them. Do I hate hearing them? Not anymore.
    Have you ever been a spectator?
    Our club had to man a watering point for the 50 km City to City ultra-marathon. I was handing out those ice cold sachets on a very hot day, sweltering under the heat, but fingers stiff and sore from the ice burn. But when those sweating, tired, puffing, struggling, sunburnt runners ran past, desperately grabbing a few sachets from my hands, all I wanted to do was say something positive to cheer them on. I know they still had 20 km to go, and most of them look like they were dying! “Well done!” was easy to say for the front runners, but it just didn’t seem appropriate later in the day, when they look so tired.
    Being a runner myself, I knew exactly what they were feeling! With compassion for what they were going through, “almost there” and “you’re doing so well!” (even if it is not true) just seemed the best thing to say!
    So now, when I am back on the road, and I hear the crowd shout words at me, I understand that they feel for what I am going through, that they care, and that they bother saying anything, even when they had been shouting themselves hoarse for the past many hours that they were there.
    And I always smile and shout back “Thank you!” with much appreciation.

    • C February 13, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

      Awesome post Caroline!

    • Bianca May 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

      Thanks…you have made me think twice when I am tired and sore…I will always appreciate that person on the side who has been standing since early that morning..:)

    • Mica May 9, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

      Having been a spectator and a runner I totallly agree with you Caroline! Lovely post!

    • A May 21, 2013 at 7:32 am #

      Thank you for this Caroline, exactly how I’ve always felt. I’ve ran a few marathons with NO SPECTATORS, it is soul crushing

  4. Naasief January 8, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    I know that spectators mean well so I don’t have a problem with most of these comments. However, the one that REALLY irks me is the “Why are you walking?” or “This isn’t a walking race” comment. At that point I want to tell the person “Well, let’s swap places buddy and see if you can do it!”

    • rob February 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      I’m so with you on that! Especially when its some fat oke with a beer in his hand sitting in his camper chair that’s bulging at the seams thinking he’s reeeeeeeal funny

    • Dave a Walker March 9, 2012 at 9:42 am #

      I just ask them if they can read,it says walker does it not. On Comrades an idiot in the 12 hr bus literally pushed me because I was walking, I pointed to my W and he nearly fell over. Could not believe one could walk comrades….

  5. Matt_W January 13, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    Glad to say I love to hear all those chirps when running, the more the better! More smiles per mile gets me to the end quicker.

    • Matt_W January 13, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

      Oh, except for number 9.
      9 is really bad.

  6. Bradley April 4, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    Hahaha!!! Im one of those runners that chirp the spectstors more than they can ever chirp me…. There should be a top 10 chirps that runner give spectators or waterpoint helpers….

    My favourite chirp to the ladys are…

    Thank you lady’s!!!…Keep it up!!!…..Looking good!!!

  7. Phillip Gibb February 3, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    someone must put a video together called Sh*t Spectators Say

  8. mary-jane kendall February 3, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    The funniest comments Ive had is after hitting the wall at about 35km running
    a marathon in Secunda some guys sitting in their garden sucking on early morning beers
    started singing to all of us exhausted plodders – ” your not going to make it , your not going to make it !” It was hilarious to hear a bit of spectator honesty , usually ” your looking good !” means you are looking as if you could pass out at any second !
    I enjoy the spectators comments (even if they are lying )and I appreciate that they are out there specially just to urge us on , waht would the big races like two oceans and comrades be without these entertaining people ??

    • Imran February 17, 2014 at 11:34 am #

      Mary i tell you,without those people many won’t even finish it,Those people are mostly the ones that push you when you can’t.. Sometimes a runner might be walking but the moment he passes people you see them running.. Why then?

      And if they come and just stand there and watch without saying a word what would happen?

      Those poor innocent people wake up in the morning sit along the road almost equal to the hours we run. And here we hate what they say without knowing how we differently taking it.

      If all the negative thoughts which comes to us while running be taken serious,then where the whole challenge of running could be?

      Whatever is said in that lines are proper chirps for a runner.. Do we expect to be told the reality? Or send them to a seminar where they should be taught what you expect from them.

  9. sneh February 3, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    If someone says rest here for a minute I’ll kill them….

  10. Carol Willis February 3, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    The worst comment I had was a marshall, clapping enthusiastically, and yelling that we were past halfway and the rest of the route was easy.

    He was standing in front of the 8km marker on a 21.1k run.

    The marker was at the base of the meanest hill I’ve seen in months.

  11. Justaplodder February 3, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    @ Carol – that is exactly what I was going to say…happened to me just last weekend at the 7k mark of a half marathon…wtf? But otherwise, I find nothing wrong with all except the walking one!! Spectator’s cheers mostly always inspire a bit of a bounce in my stride…MUSIC blaring though is the best!

  12. TEMP February 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm #


  13. Dave February 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    The best chirp ever:
    At around the 70km mark in Comrades:

    “Well done! I think you’re in 9000th place!”

    I was so sore I couldn’t even smile.

    • Sakkie February 3, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

      This one is good. EK het nou lekker gelag

    • Jeanne-marie February 25, 2014 at 8:32 am #

      That has got to be the best chirp ever! I want to run my first comrades in 2015 and if I get 9000th place I will be over the moon!

  14. Christine February 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    “Looking good girl” accompanied by wolf whistles makes me want to stop and beat you, but it’s not worth losing valuable seconds

  15. Christine February 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    Here’s another one, it wasn’t really annoying, in fact it was kinda inspiring cos I wouldn’t want to be this guy – Fat, drunk spectator: “Hey, want a cold one” Me: “Isn’t it a little early?” (it’s 7am) Spectator: “Nee, dis al te laat” (laughs uproariously) note: this is only funny if you’re drunk

  16. Des February 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    Hey with legs like that you should try walking on your hands!!!

    Hey you with the Wednesday legs!! Whens day gonna break!!!

    • anneline Peters February 10, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

      hahaha at that will make me laugh. especially towards the end of a marathon with I feel like death warmed up

  17. Corlia February 3, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

    Halooooo meiiisie!!!!! Followed by other unappropriate comments make me want to destroy the commentator with one look.

  18. Sakkie February 3, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    Best chirp to friend of mine at Loskop: “Hey Polokwane, hoeveel slag jy uit?”

  19. Bilbobagins February 3, 2012 at 11:45 pm #

    I love spectators that shout “keep it up”. I always reply, “keep what up?”.

    • mike March 1, 2012 at 10:55 am #

      Love this one too. My reply is always “Keep it up ?…. I cant even get it up..!!”

  20. Matthew Smith February 10, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    With like 15km to go in Comrades. A spectator tells me. (I was broken, my foot was killing me so I was walking) “I never walked when I ran, come on man suck it up and just run”. Thanks for the advise !!!

  21. Mike February 22, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    “Run Forrest run” makes me want to kill people.

    • clive mortimer September 23, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

      Hi Mike
      Try when you actually run for Forest Hills Athletic club – we just love it and say we are man with a smile and laugh

  22. Warren February 27, 2012 at 5:38 am #

    Worst chirp ever. About 15 years ago, chasing a Silver Medal, after going through halfway in 3:54, I was working my way up the second little hill after Camperdown (Up run), about 23km to go and having to do sub 1:45 from there to get silver.

    Spectator at the side of the road said “Oh shame, these guys will miss their Silvers”. At this point when it all looked futile, this was the last thing that a tired mind and exhausted body needed to hear. I seldom swear or get abusive, but on that day I made an exception. I swore at him, loud and long and told him to close his cute little mouth.

    To his credit, he apologised quickly, and ran with me for about half a minute telling me that if I kept going like I was, I would make it, that I was looking very strong. He also said to get angry rather than afraid of Pollys. Turned into great motivation.

    And yes, I collected the Silver Medal after doing 7:25. So 1:41 for the last 23km. Including Pollys.

  23. Thuli March 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Admittedly I’m not the fastest marathon runner around – the one chirp I find irritating is when the spectators say “vele uyeke” (it’s better to give up) obviously because I’m more at the end than in front. At that moment I remind myself that I’m healthier than they are and they are really not worth arguing with.

  24. Robyn August 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    Wow, some of you guys must be a real pleasure to run with on races! Not…!
    I agree that nasty or negative comments are really uncalled for, but I think most people (including the marshalls) really mean well and are just trying to give the runners support.
    I only started running at the beginning of 2012 and have only done eight 10km races so far, but I have to say that I LOVE the spectators and all their motivational comments. I do think, however, that a lot of the comments are made tongue in cheek and that is certainly the way that I take them. I always run a little faster and smile a little more when spectators and marshalls interact with the runners, especially when it is done in a slightly teasing way. It’s always nice to chirp back as well!
    Maybe I just have a different opinion because I’m only running in little races, but I hope to still keep my sense of humour when I get into the longer distances.

  25. Nomhle November 28, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

    Anyone ever got hit on whilst running… that one makes me want to throw up! Otherwise, love them all

    • Giggs May 25, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

      Nomhle, i was told on my second comrades “uzolala la, uvuke la” ( you will sleep here and wake up here, pointing to their chests) by a bunch of very young girls. i just said I am married to your elder sister, remember. yes they laughed even more.

  26. Conroy January 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    Tongue-in-cheek comments appreciated – they have all been heard at some point in my jogging.

    These are fine, but what really annoys me is when some spectator thinks I need to be squirted with water!

  27. Kevin March 10, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    I disagree, love the chirps, love the spectator’s, they mean only to encourage

  28. spookie May 29, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    i just luvit! all of them! cause I am an x-comrades runner (8 of them) – started at the age of 49 and are still doing Marathons and Ultras and then spectator at beeg C – will not stop chirping – I enjoy them and also chirp back at them!

    spectactors you go forit!!!!

  29. Eileen May 29, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    My favourite was, at 45th Cutting one Up Comrades: “You’re nearly there”. I did wonder if he had any idea how far we were actually
    going that day!!!

  30. Wes June 20, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    I get lots of chirps, from runners and spectators. It may have something to do with the letters S A R S on my shirt, but I love it. I give it as good as I get it. And there are some real characters at the WPA races which only helps the vibe. I agree that hearing ‘you’re almost there’ every km gets a bit much, but the spectators and marshalls are awesome.

    • Giggs May 25, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

      Wow Wes. if you think chirps directed to sars running club runners are worse, try Eskom..hehehe.. I just feel a lump on my throat everytime I get it.

      • Pono March 17, 2015 at 10:35 am #

        Yah, wearing Eskom club colours you’re really asking for it….

        The load-shedding thing never goes away…

  31. MATIE December 28, 2013 at 12:35 am #

    when people say you looking good i normally say thanks but you’re a goog lyer

  32. Charlene December 28, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    I love your top ten worst comments, and I can so relate to all of them. I was telling my son about it and we had such a good laugh…that is what makes comrades, baring in mind those spectators are making those comments with every good intention in mind. I have completed 6 comrades and as much as I have had rotten ones and great ones, I love the support including those top ten unintentionally demotivating spectator comments.

  33. Carol January 30, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    I am a regular supporter of the races in Jo’burg as my hubby is a running addict. I find myself on the side of the road most weekends, trying to give words of encouragement Its all very well to have the “10 worst chirps”, but then help us out and tell us what is motivating to hear when you are running…
    We are there to support the running fraternity and obviously not trying to insult anyone. How can we give you that encouragement to keep you going? What do you want us to say that will give you the “oomph” up the next hill, or snap you out of the “why the hell am I doing this” mindset.

    • Macksy April 23, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

      With 3 km to go at the two oceans this past weekend came across this one: “my feet hurt so badly from just waiting for you”. Must say it was the most hilarious I’ve ever come across. Just told myself it wasn’t meant for me.

  34. Giggs May 25, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    Wow. very interesting topic. i really don’t mind what the spectators say to me but there is a group of physically challenged boys and girls along the comrades route. every cold comrades morning they wake up just to cheer me. i always have a tear or two the least when i touch their cold hands and say a little prayer. they don’t have to say anything. their presence to me is a warm push for me. Like my kids when i go to work, they just look at me with a silent message that i must have a wonderful day. That is my refueling point which is why i like the upruns more than downruns. those angels come in good time.

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