There are few things worse than finding yourself still in line for a port-a-potty when the gun goes off at the start of your race. Here are a few tips to help keep the lines moving so you can get moving.
Get Down to Business. When you arrive at the race site, scope out the port-a-potty situation. Often times, you’ll find more than one bank of pots with varying wait times. Cue up and do your business before everyone else has the same idea.
Line Up . You’ve likely seen a wide variety of lines form outside a row of port-a-potties. Some with one line per porta. Some separated by gender. Some with a single line feeding dozens of stalls. Some with just a blob of people waiting with no real order.
One of the more efficient options is to create one line for every 4-5 potties. Think zones or sections. This will reduce the steps (and time) needed to get to the next available porta, yet prevent you from getting stuck in line behind ‘that guy’.
Get ready. Get set. Go. When you’re nearing the front of the line, pay attention. Get to a stopping place in your conversation, scan your section of potties and be ready to move when you see a door beginning to open.
The person before you will be polite and hold the door open for you, saving valuable seconds. Repay the favor and hold the door as you exit.
They’re made for one thing: pottying. Port-a-potties are not changing rooms, phone booths or … well, whatever othere use just popped in your mind. Really, who wants to hang out in there any longer than necessary!?
Although lines are more common before a race, there are often runners and spectators in need of the facilities after the race – often urgently. As a side note, if the units aren’t in constant use (i.e., no line), put the seat down. This will help ventilate the unit and minimize the odor.
Participants Get Priority. It takes a lot of people to put on a race, including volunteers and spectators and we get that they’ve all been drinking coffee since way before dawn. As much as possible, please allow runners and walkers to take priority in the line, especially if you can hear the National Anthem playing in the distance.
Lock the Door Behind You. Yes, this may cost you a few seconds, but the fright resulting from facing a stranger with your running tights around your ankles will cost you much more time.
If you find yourself in need of a pit stop during the race, look for port-a-potties along the course – often located near aid stations. Please avoid using lawns or alleyways, as tempting as they may seem. It’s rude, not to mention unsanitary.
As Shalane has shown, it is possible to go fast…
View Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t131MwydJlc
Author’s Note: the porta does NOT double as a trash receptacle. Banana peels, gel packs, and car keys should not find their way into the bowl. Think about the poor person who has to fish those items out before the bio waste can be dealt with.