OR, this could be titled, "HOW NOT TO COORDINATE VOLUNTEERS FOR A RACE", though, I'm certain it's not an easy job, and I'm not saying I could have done better than the coordinator... but because of that, I don't think I would have volunteered to be the coordinator.
Because I didn't have anything going on this week, I decided to run on Saturday and volunteer at a race on Sunday. The race was struggling to find volunteers. I've since learned that this may be because last year the volunteer situation was really crazy and people didn't choose to come back for more.
um. sign number one.
sign number two was the e-mail detailing that I was on the RUN course, and I needed to check in at 5:30am. This means a 4:30 wake up. Awesome.
OK, so I figured there must be a reason why I need to be there this early, so that's what I'm going to do.... The Elusive Dave and I had a shared brain moment, and both volunteered for the same race, and since we're practically neighbors, he was gentleman enough to drive us down. We chatted on the way down, got parked, got our new T-shirts... which were immediately sweat soaked as soon as we put them on... and waited for a Job.
"How can we help?" Those were our words.
And so we waited....
And we ate a muffin....
And we were offered water, but only the idea of water, because no one seemed to actually have any water for us...
And we hung out...
And we offered our help again...
And finally, we were told to follow the Run Course coordinator out to the course. OK. We're on our way...
...around the parking lot because she was on her cell phone and apparently couldn't concentrate.
AND now - it's 6:10am, and we've been out in the heat (and it was HOT) for 40 minutes - we're on our way for real this time. Right out... to water station #1, which we set up... and.... wait.... we don't have everything we need....
...and back around to the parking lot to get more supplies.
AND NOW surely we're on our way. YES. We are. On our way... back to water stop #1, and then to water stop #2, to set up... and... the coordinator seemed a bit confused about how to put this together. Still, we made it.... with a lot of pauses. Literally. The brake lights on her car would come on, and she would drift to a rolling stop. And pull forward 1 foot. And drift to a rolling stop. And by now, Dave and I aren't even pretending we're not laughing.
Here's the thing, the coordinator to the run portion of todays race was (and is) a very nice person, I'm certain. But as a LINEAR thinker, she was unable to get from Point A to Point D without going to Point B, and back to Point A.... to Point C, and back to Point A.... Dave and I spent a lot of time doing not a whoooooooole lot of anything except standing around in the heat watching the ice melt. Literally. We arrived at our water stop hours before the first runner was scheduled to come past. By the time we did have the elites, the ice was melting.
Around the time the elites start waining and we started getting into the "age groupers" we realized... we. were. screwed. As just two people handing out water & PowerAid and filling cups, there was NO way we could keep up. It was, a total cluster F#()!
We were scrambling, frantically filling cups so they could grab them off the table. A local celebrity ran by, some people who looked familiar, Hey you live in my neighborhood, and then suddenly I couldn't even SEE THE RUNNERS through the pack. A woman who may have been someone I know quite well went by, but I couldn't see her face long enough to say her name, because I couldn't take my eyes off the cups I was frantically filling... and then it happened.
We ran out of WATER.
Here we are - The WATER stop, and we're out of water. As we're getting low on liquid I realized I was really dehydrated, but I didn't want to drink anything, the runners needed it more. And then, the muscles in my hands stopped working. So. I drank some poweraid. Still, not a happy moment when the first runner came by and we had to say, "we're out of water." Dave's calling the coordinator who's saying things like, "let me see if I can drop these guys off and pick some up for you."
Perhaps she's not understanding - this was not for courtesy. It was 105 degrees out today. To NOT have Water or Poweraid could mean the difference between a runner getting heat stroke and dying, or not. This wasn't about triathletes getting a little sluggish in the heat not achieving a PR. This was about survival.
She showed up and refilled our water... of course, then we ran out of cups.
Anyway, it all turned out acceptable. We ran out of cups, water and powerade, but not all at the same time. We had fun. I got a little heat exhaustion, but not much. Dave is going to have to coordinate that event next year, he had 100 great ideas for how to pull it off better every 3 minutes. "I might have chosen to do this... or this.... or... this..."
Still, as I said, we had fun. I saw SpeeDee come past, she looked awesome. No one should look that cute running after swimming and biking in the heat, but she did. I won't volunteer for that race next year though. But not for the reason you think. I think instead I'll do the Aquathlon (?). I didn't know they even existed. But heck - that's my sport, I saw it today. Swimming and Running? Sign me up NOW!