First-Timers FAQs for Road Races

Never attended an FLRC road race before? Welcome! There’s little we enjoy more than sharing our love of road racing with newcomers of all ages and abilities. We’ve developed this list of answers to frequently asked questions so you can have a sense of what happens at our road races before you arrive. Also feel free to ask questions of the race director or any volunteer once you’re at the race.


How do I register? 

The information on the race’s Web page will include a description, date and time, and location of the race, along with a link to register. In-person same-day registration is available for some but not all FLRC races. If you have special circumstances, contact the race director using the email or phone number provided on the race’s Web page. When registering, read all the information provided, read and sign the waiver, and complete the entry form fully and accurately. You should receive an email confirmation of your registration to the email address you provided while completing the online registration form.

FLRC uses several different race registration systems, including Webscorer (for most of our races), RunSignUp (for the Skunk Cabbage 10K and Half Marathon and the Twilight 5K), and UltraSignup (for the Finger Lakes 50s), so the registration experience may vary with the race.

When You Arrive

When should I arrive?

We recommend that you arrive at least 45–60 minutes before the start of the race. You’ll want time to find parking, pick up your bib number, warm up, change for the race, and hit the Porta-John one last time (and there are usually lines). Plus, you’ll want to hear the race director’s announcements, which usually talk about the course, water stops, traffic control, and any changes that runners need to know.

Get Ready for Your Race

What do I do with my bib number? 

Use the pins that we provide to put your bib number on the front of your shirt so that it is visible to course marshals and volunteers at checkpoints and to timers as you cross the finish line. Do not trade or share bib numbers with another person because that confuses our results.

What should I do to warm up?

We recommend you do a few minutes of jogging or dynamic stretching before your event to warm up. If you have a warm-up routine you normally do before a hard run, that’s the best thing to do.

Where should I go on the starting line?

Not everyone will get a spot on the starting line and some people will have to line up further back. The men and women (we give equal space to women) who think they are among the fastest should get a spot on the actual line. Pick a spot that matches roughly how fast you think you are, so if you think you’re a mid-pack runner, line up somewhere in the middle. Walkers/hikers should go to the back.

When in the starting area, listen carefully to the race director’s announcements and remain quiet so others can hear, as well.

Are headphones allowed?

The race information will specify, but even if headphones are allowed always keep your volume low and one ear free from earbuds. It is crucial to be aware of what is around you, including traffic and volunteers giving instructions.

Should I study the race course in advance?

We recommend that you have some familiarity with the race course before starting, although volunteers will be directing you at major turns.

During your race

What do I do if I see a fellow competitor who has fallen or gotten injured on the course?

You are not obligated to stay back with an injured runner, although please do so if you feel that the person needs assistance. In nearly all cases, we recommend that you ask if they are okay, get their name and bib number, and then tell the next volunteer you see that someone behind you on the course is injured, providing the name and bib number if you can remember.

What should I expect at aid stations?

The race instructions will specify the distance between aid stations placed periodically along the course. Most races will provide water and sports drink at the stations. You can drink the water or pour it over your head to cool off. You may drop the cup within a reasonable distance from the aid station.  If the weather is particularly hot and especially if you expect to be running for longer than an hour, you may want to carry your own water or energy gels/chews. 

Will I need to carry a water bottle, wear a hydration vest, or something similar?

The answer to this question depends on the length of the race, distance between aid stations, the conditions of the day, your pace, and your personal preference. In shorter races, particularly in cooler weather, most people don’t carry their own water and food. However, there are good reasons to do so: 

  • If it’s hot or if you’re a relatively slow runner, you may well need fluids or snacks between aid stations, making a bottle or vest an important piece of gear. 
  • If you’re racing for a fast time, you might wish to carry your own gear to save time at aid stations, although the extra weight may also slow you down. 
  • If you have highly individualized nutritional needs, you’ll want to carry your own provisions with you. 
  • Hydration vests are also very useful for stashing extra (or discarded) clothing, phone, keys, and such. 

As with all gear, it is important to practice with a bottle or vest during training before using it during a race, particularly a long race. 

What if I need to use or change a menstrual product during the race?

For races of the half-marathon distance and longer, FLRC provides menstrual products and sanitary disposal bags at aid stations.

After the Race

What should I do after I finish?

Particularly if it’s cool weather, it’s worth putting some extra clothes on so you don’t get cold. You won’t be cold at first, but it’s easy to get chilled quickly after significant exertion, and putting on some warm clothes before you get cold will help.

Where can I learn how fast I ran or where I finished?

At some races, we post interim results during the race. We also post all the results on the FLRC website, usually within a day or two.