There are some general signs that I've always liked -
or even a simple
are all cool.
I really like signs that are personal. When my brother ran his first marathon, we made signs for him. Andy is a very tenacious person. One of his many accomplishments is that in 1992, he was the Doughnut Eating King of Moline High School (a fact that is on his resume to this day). Andy ate a ridiculous amount of doughnuts in a very short period of time. He was so focused and so determined that my cheer for him was simply, "Eat the doughnut, Andy!"
How could my marathon sign say anything else but, "RUN THE MARATHON, ANDY!"
During my marathon two weeks ago, I saw a woman holding a sign that said, "I Have Faith In You, Mom!" The sign wasn't for me, but the sentiment made me feel great. It brought to mind all of the people who have faith in me to finish my race. A "Way to Go, Bob!" sign makes me think, "Yeah, way to go, Bob. And way to go all of us. This is great!"
Spectators should know that even if the sign they've made is personal for the runner they're watching, it really can make a difference to all of the runners out there on the course.
Just ask my mom - she came to the marathon with a sign that said, "GO BETSY!" on it in huge letters. As fate would have it, another woman named Betsy (alas, not this Betsy or this one) was running close to me for much of the race. Every time she saw my mom, she'd yell, "Hey, I'm Betsy, too! Hold up the sign!"
Every runner on the race course is going through their own journey, but we have many experiences in common. A race sign held aloft by a loving spectator may be intended for just one person, but will resonate with many. It will remind them of all the hard work they've done, all of the people who have supported them, and can give them a little extra strength to "RUN THE MARATHON!"