As the European spring marathon scene revs up, I’m writing this as belated warning to hoteliers – marathoners make terrible guests! The stresses of housing hen and stag parties pale into insignificance alongside the demands of the ardent runner. Here’s why:
1. Special dietary requirements – if runners aren’t clamouring for a high carb meal the night before the race (note: get the pasta and rice on the menu), we’re definitely the ones demanding porridge for breakfast in copious amounts, and earlier on a weekend morning than the meal would usually be served. And if the establishment won’t provide breakfast that early, well, we’ll make our own instant oatmeal in our rooms leaving a sticky mess for some poor soul to clear up later…probably the same poor soul who has to clean up the rest of the room following our stay.
2. Early to bed, early to rise – races usually start early morning. In order to be fuelled and ready to race we need to be up before the lark. This scenario means we’re the ones complaining the night before when other non-running hotel guests are partying late (note: anything past 9pm is late on pre-race night), but we’re the ones crashing around in the early hours, waking other guests up, as we go through our pre-race rituals. Who else has forgotten to keep their voice down while heading along a hotel corridor, eager to get to the start line, rustling in the bin liner they are wearing to stay warm? Yes, we’re noisy guests!
3. Excess rubbish – ever noticed how much paraphernalia and downright trash gets handed out at race expos? Alongside your number and timing chip, you don’t actually need any of the cure-all-muscle rubs, run-faster nutritional supplements, new shoe guides, or any other of the samples handed out. Everyone knows you’re not going to buy new gear to wear in the race or try out some untested energy gel on the fly. The free clutter just gets dumped… in your hotel room.
4. Stinky kit – let’s be honest we all sweat when we run. And there’s nothing worse than the smell of a runner who’s completed a marathon, who’s therefore been running for a couple of hours plus, and has then simply layered up as they negotiate public transport back to their hotel. Yup, we shower when we get back to the hotel, if we don’t just collapse in a heap, but for the interim we stink. Plus, our dirty kit will remain in the hotel room, (note: aroma is similar to a wet dog) for the rest of the duration of our stay.
5. Post race partying – whether you’re gunning for sub 2:30 or just glad to hang on to the back of the finishers’ pack, completing a marathon is a major feat. It deserves a celebration, and so we do, and then we do some more, and perhaps a little more, and then we try to stand up to crawl back to our rooms and our legs have locked up and hotel concierge is called in to assist. Nothing is more challenging to move than a tipsy and temporarily paralyzed runner.
What would you add to this advice list for marathon start-line hoteliers? I’m sure there are plenty more reasons why we make challenging guests 😉