Saturday morning, Rebecca and I volunteered at the National Marathon. Since I wasn't running it this year, I figured why not volunteer at it. We also roped a friend into it, because the aid station where we'd be working (Miles 1 and 15) was just a few blocks away from her apartment.
I have a new appreciation for those who work the aid stations. I've volunteered at races before several times. But I never worked the complete setup. When we arrived at 6:00 AM, we got started by setting up the tables one after another. After that, we started unpacking the jugs of water, before finally starting to fill the cups. Much to my surprise, this was a lot harder and took a lot longer than I figured. A LOT of cups fit on a one table. Add to that the fact that you are pouring from a 1 gallon water jog into a small cup. You have to be pretty gentle with the pouring, otherwise the cups fall over like dominos, resulting in a wet table and a lot of cups on the ground (not that it ever happened ;) ).
Then, it was on to the Powerade, which took even longer, because each cup had to be poured from the spout of the 10 gallon jugs we mixed it into. In total, setup took us right till 7:05 when the first runners started coming.
Once thr race came around, I was manned at the Powerade section, handing out red fruit punch flavored Powerade. Since we were at Mile 1, I didn't think too many people would be taking water, let alone Powerade. But sure enough, I couldn't unload the cups fast enough. With nearly 10,000 runners between the half and full marathon, it was a steady stream of runners for about 30 minutes.
At Mile 15 (the 2nd time the runners came through), local running legend Michael Wardian had a commanding 5 minute lead on everyone else. He of course went on the win the race by about the same margin, posting a 2:21:58 time.
By the end of the day, my fingers were bright red from all the Powerade. Note - this photo doesn't do the redness justice. They were REALLY bright red.
In all, this was a great time. I enjoyed interacting with the runners and cheering them on. I can't think of a better way to watch the race than by helping them out and being on the course. Congrats to any and all runners who ran on Saturday. The weather was amazing, and FAR different than it has been in the past.
Be sure to thank all volunteers - they work hard to make sure the race is executed smoothly!