So last night I volunteered at a water stop to help out Team in Training. The race was the Marathon Sports 5-miler in Weston, Mass. It looked like at least a few hundred people had signed up to run the race. I'd never been to a race on a weekday at all let alone at night so that was definitely a different race experience. But the weather was cooler and not at all humid so it worked out well!
So I got to the Team tent a little early and hung around until we got directions as to what to do. There are about 20 of us volunteering for the Team and we all got in vans and they shuttled us out to the course. I got off at the first - and the craziest - water stop. They warned us it would be nuts, and they were right!
We were stationed just past the mile 1 mark and on the other side of the street was the mile 3 3/4 mark. So we poured and poured cups of water, literally it looked like hundreds! We moved a few tables to the other side of the street so there would be enough for the runners at the 3 3/4 mile mark as well as the 1 mile mark.
They had shuttled us out about an hour early, so after that was done, there was LOTS of waiting around for the race to start and lots of anticipation. We also had to deal with traffic going by, including one poor guy who had to sit in his driveway for like 20 minutes because they had closed the road both ways for the runners. Sucks to be him!
Then the runners started coming by really quick. The fast runners - those who run about 5-minute miles - most didn't want water but those who did SUCKED at grabbing cups! We were warned we'd probably get wet but I really got a lot wet. The fast runners would go by, try to grab a cup from me, spill it on me, and do the same thing with the other 3 water holders standing behind me! Come on people, grab the cup at the top, squeeze and drink! Not hard!
I love people watching and I love watching runners so that part was fun for me. I cheered for all of them as they ran by. A pretty thick wave of runners after the fast runners kept me busy, then it started to thin out.
Then, who do I see, but one of my buds running the race! I didn't know she would be there so I was stoked to see a familiar face. By the time she looped back around she didn't look so hot - the course was pretty hilly - so I ran with her for a little while. Then we came to Caroline, another Team in Training familiar face on the side of the road, all by herself, directing runners to go straight. What a boring job! She'd been standing there for hours! So I let my friend go and stood with Caroline so she wouldn't be alone. After we were sure everyone went by, we cut across the field and headed back to the tent. I caught up with my bud again at the end of the race and she was so happy to be done! Yay her!
All in all it was a great experience and it really made me see how much work goes into a race. All the pouring, picking up the cups after the runners just throw them on the ground, cheering and getting wet...it was nuts! But it was all very rewarding and I'm sure I'll be doing it again sometime soon!