Your Questions: How Do I DJ A Marathon?

Christian Yates
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 24 March, 2018

Digital DJ Tips Platinum Facebook Group member Bruno asks: “I am going to be DJing at a marathon this weekend. Have any of you guys ever DJed at one? Do you have any suggestions for a playlist that will get the runners pumped?

Digital DJ Tips says…

First of all, anything that you play leading up to the start has to be high energy and/or inspirational. You are going to have a broad mix of people of all different ages, so it’s imperative that you play familiar tunes to the crowd. Tracks like “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, “We Will Rock You” by Queen, “Harder Better Faster Stronger” by Daft Punk, Lose Yourself by Eminem, and “Club Foot” by Kasabian are good picks.

Our founder, Phil Morse, has run several marathons, and admits to bursting into tears with the emotion of it all when a DJ dropped “Beautiful Day” by U2 at the start of the Stockholm Marathon a few years back – this type of DJing really does matter to anxious runners lining up to begin a race!

During the race, the majority of the runners will have headphones in so you are mainly playing to the spectators. Uptempo pop or indie music and a little bit of dance will keep the crowd happy and keep the atmosphere lively for when the runners get back to the finish line (assuming that is where you are going to be DJing).

Keep it familiar, play a broad range of genres to keep everyone happy and don’t let the energy drop. I find that the best music to run to is that which is at the same tempo as your strides. You could even have a bit of a joke and play something like “Run To The Hills” (Iron Maiden) or “Living on a Prayer (Bon Jovi) at the halfway point. If you’re having fun, the audience will feel it and will have fun themselves.

After the race, you could play things like “We Are The Champions” (Queen, again) and other cheesy “pat on the back” classics for the athletes to bask in. Maybe you could be a little cheeky and play “One More Time” (Daft Punk)?

The main things to remember are to have fun, play high energy tracks, keep your set varied and fill it with classics of all ages to keep the audience engaged. We’re sure you’ll have a ball and that others will have plenty of suggestions for you in the comments below.

Here’s a Spotify playlist that we made for you using the tracks mentioned in this article and some extra bonus ones for you to consider:

Spotify Playlist

Have you ever DJed a marathon? What do you think of our track suggestions? What would you play if given the chance? Let us know in the comments below…

Click here for your free DJ Gear and software guide