Dealing with the unexpected while Running

What happens when something unexpected happens in a race and bothers you?

Some thoughts on Mexico City marathon 2016 experience that I have with this race and that has amazing examples of dealing with the unexpected

A few days before Mexico’s city marathon I read a Facebook comment from a disgruntled runner calling cheaters and worst some  runners that have not properly trained, run an incomplete marathon or starts the race midway, but what really caught my attention was how upset she was and the comment I quote here “I have prepared myself, I have regularly trained and it’s not fair for some people to jump in, get in the way and cheat to receive a medal they don’t deserve”

I have two different opinions, one as a runner that has been running Mexico’s city marathon many times and another as a Mental, Sport, and Running Coach.

This post is NOT to discuss the ethical part of completing a race but to give some tips on HOW TO ACT WHEN SOMETHING UNEXPECTED BOTHERS YOU IN A RACE.


As a Mental Coach, I can tell you it’s that life is NOT fair.


We cannot let things or events beyond our control to get us off balance or take our peace away.


We all see life through our own beliefs and experiences and our attitude is what makes the difference. You are the one assuming the role of victim.

To worry or get upset about situations or persons who are beyond our control or within our influence area is to elevate our stress level, lower our quality of life and miss on enjoying what should be an incredible experience.

The only thing under our control is our attitude and preparation level. The weather, the race details, and other runners will never be under our control. NEVER.

If you want to let an unknown person upset, you and curse at him because he got into the race 3 miles from the finish and got in your way it will only affect your experience and speaks on how you look at life and handle frustration. You know nothing on what motivates a runner you don’t even know.

Feeling upset about that will only make you lose your focus on an already difficult test. That is not only advised on running but also on life.


Whether you race your first or tenth marathon or only your first 5k my suggestion is to enjoy the race as it comes, with rain, heat, lots of people jumping in, whatever happens, it’s your race, your experience and you have worked hard towards that. Face it with a positive attitude and don’t worry about something that it’s beyond your control.


In Mexico’s city marathon case, that runners jump in mid-race, whatever their motivation is something you should be aware BEFORE REGISTERING for the race, especially if you want to set a personal best, lower your time or qualify for Boston there’s a big chance that due to external factors this marathon won’t be the right place for your objectives.


If we chose to run despite this, let’s try not to be bothered, let’s do our best to educate other runners on the importance of running the whole race not only as a mental or personal challenge but also as the right thing to do.

Think about how you’ll react to anything unexpected like rain, heat, people jumping in mid-race, lack of water stations and how you want to remember your experience.

There will always be something or someone that makes you lose your concentration gets in your way or hits you without meaning any harm, wants to pass you or holding you back because he/she is running slower.

You must practice mental strength, to be patient and optimist. Think about how you are going to tell yourself the moment something unexpected happens? How you are going to regain your concentration in your pace and experience. Think of a positive sentence in a mantra that con help you return to an enjoyable experience.

Work on what you can control and enjoy YOUR experience. Taking control of your thoughts and attitude is part of the “Mental strength” you have to develop, practice on any race, regardless of distance.

Enjoy and have fun! Upon finishing it you’ll be stronger and wiser if you run with the most positive attitude you are capable of.

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RRCA Running Educator, Health & Mindset coach, content creator 22 years running, 200+ races & creating magic at Instarunners

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