Let me start by saying that I don't at all begrudge the hobby jogger crowd from going to races. I think it is great that people, no matter their ability or training level are willing to be active and go to races. However, I am starting to experience a disturbing trend where the fast runners are criticized for their ability or effort.
I ran a thanksgiving day Half Marathon this morning. It was mostly an out and back course. One of the aid stations was at about 5.5 miles on the way out, and 8.5 miles on the way back. As I was coming back, there were no volunteers noticing me come back, so I had to grab an energy gel off the table myself. I was able to do this because there were tables on both sides of the road. One of the runners heading out, yelled "cheater" at me. At the time, I assumed they were joking, but after the race I started to wonder.
There was also a 5k with the race. So the faster Half Marathon runners had to pass the crowds of 40-55 minute 5k runners during the last 2 miles of the race. After the race I talked to another top finishing runner, they said a 5ker yelled "show off" at him as he was pushing to finish the last quarter mile. Once again, maybe the person was joking. But it is still disheartening to think that people have no appreciation for the effort that someone who is trying to run fast, is putting in at the end of a race. If you can't resist the urge to yell at a runner passing you, just be positive and say "good job." When I finish a race, I cheer on the slower runners. I don't try to think of something sarcastic or funny to yell at them.
I do want to say that there were plenty of slower running in both the Half and 5k that cheered me on as I passed. This is the atmosphere that races should be.