This is a personal requirement, because sometimes it’s really tense for the athletes and humor is a delicate but helpful tool.
I remind people the reason I use humor is because it’s going to give them a shot of dopamine to laugh. A little bit of laughter on that trail can give them a punch that can help them get through times that are strenuous or mentally challenging. I will frequently add this in my night-before Trail Driver meeting. I also invite them to make me laugh.
I also remind them about how to use humor on the course. Nothing can be more irritating than a clown when you are crashing mentally, so I remind people to use humor in ways that are thoughtful and not demeaning.
Just sending a smile to someone who is crashing will sometimes force them to smile back at you. Even that smile will help them come out of what may be depression on the trail.
A kind word and a big smile can go a long way, but a fairly awful joke that makes you laugh can stick with you for miles.
Laughter is medicine and it’s also a fabulous painkilling drug.