A Solution to Long Lines at Race Porta-Potties

For my first update in a month and a half, let’s talk about porta-potties.

I wish I knew enough SEO wizardry to ensure that race directors searching for “the best way to arrange porta-potties” or “how can I decrease the risk of skirmishes and/or potential accidents in my race’s porta-potty lines” would find this post.

The Hartford Marathon, which I ran back in 2011, had the most brilliant porta-potty arrangement the world has ever seen.

Instead of this traditional massive-row-of-potties style:

Aren't my Photoshop skills grand?

Aren’t my Photoshop skills grand?

They had arranged their potties in “banks,” like this:

Don't these dots look less confused?

Don’t these dots look less confused?

In the traditional “row” setup, open potties between two lines of runners often sit unused for precious seconds while the runners in front of both lines say, “You go!” “No, you go!” “No, please, you go!”

The “bank” setup eliminates this downtime.

In the traditional “row” setup, you’ll choose the shortest-looking line, only to discover—as the final minutes before the starting gun goes off tick by—that said line is only feeding one or two potties.

With the “bank” setup, all lines are more or less equal. (Pick the one with fewer ladies, though. Apparently, we spend an average of three minutes in the pre-race potty, while men take an average of 90 seconds. Source)

In all the woe and soul-searching that followed Hartford, I nearly forgot about the pre-race potties, which were pretty much the highlight of the race for me. (Aside from the post-race beer, of course.)

I’ve already passed this idea along to relevant folks at the Runner’s World Half and Festival, but if you know a race director, please share this with him or her as well.

The less stress the pre-race potty lines cause, the more energy runners have to leave on the course. (And the less likely runners will be to leave bodily waste in the woods or bushes along your course.)


About Meghan Loftus

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3 Responses to A Solution to Long Lines at Race Porta-Potties

  1. DC says:

    Thanks for the idea! We hate long port-potty lines, too!

  2. Rick says:

    Seems like a good idea. Another issue that seems to be pretty common is not enough port-a-jons. Is there some kind of runner/port-a-jon ratio that has been determined to work that could also be published so that race directors would get enough of them?

  3. cara says:

    @Rick – Runner’s World just had an article about that very topic. http://www.runnersworld.com/races/your-next-race-might-have-more-porta-potties?page=single

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