A man holding a water bottle while a runner in a vest wipes his forehead in the background

Water Station Etiquette

The Question

This question is from Saskia. Saskia is concerned about some race behaviour:


“This might seem silly, but I've never raced before and I'm wondering what happens with drinks stations. Are you just meant to take the bottle and keep running with it until you get to a bin or can you discard it on the street?”

Simon's Answer

Simon - running coach
Simon Loughran - Middle-distance runner and UK Athletics Coach in Running Fitness (CiRF) and Athletics Coach

“In general, it's fine to discard your bottle or cup roadside and it'll be collected by marshalls.

Obviously, be wary of throwing it where it could cause an accident, or where it might not be found (e.g. in a hedge).

Many races do provide bins near water stations, so if possible use them.”

Update November 2019 - race organisers threaten to disqualify litterers

Our Member's Answer

Janet in Poole takes the tidy approach.

Janet - Tidy

“Honestly, I'm probably in a minority, but I always try to place mine in a bin or failing that near another marshall. I think there's so much waste anyway that we can all do our bit to help, even during races. And ask yourself if you really need that drink? Don't just take it because it's there.”

Janet raises a good point there - often people just take water because it's available.

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