It's cheesy. Running alongside the barriers, high-fiving supporters like you're some kind of superstar, sometimes even slowing your pace or weaving across the road just to slap the hands of complete strangers. But I think it's a really important part of racing.
Of course, feeling like you're getting the red carpet treatment is a brilliant experience. If you're going long and your name is proudly on your shirt, those outstretched palms will probably be shouting your name, too and you'll feel like a sweatier, lycra-clad version of Beyoncé! Whether it distracts you from the effort of running or the support gives you a boost or you find the noise so irritating you pick up the pace to pass them all, it's motivating. But that's not why it's important to partake in some high-fivery.
It's the little hands that matter the most, the ones that stick their high fives through the bars because they can't reach over the barriers. Those are the ones that will feel disappointed if they don't get their requested attention, that will quickly bore of supporting races if no one engages with them, the ones that will see running as a dull pursuit if none of the competitors seems to be having fun.
If they're at a race, it's likely they already know someone keen on running – they're either supporting a family member or accompanying a mad-on-run-supporting chaperone. But that doesn't mean they enjoy it. I was dragged around historic houses but I saw no joy in old paintings or moth eaten rugs.
At a time when a scary percentage of children are leaving school obese, it's so important to keep them engaged with being active. There are many ways to encourage them to get involved, a quick high-five is only tiny, minute part. But if that hand slap goes towards making their race day experience more enjoyable and they consider taking up running themselves one day because it looks so fun, why would you not indulge them?!