Sunday, September 21, 2008


Well today I decided to do something I never did before in Triathlon, I volunteered at a race. Specifically the Nutmeg HIM, run by Endurit multisport. To be honest the past few years I was I guess a bit selfish. I always thought ah well other people can do that, its not my thing. PLUS they get volunteers from communities anyhow.

BOY was I wrong!

Yes there were great volunteers from the community, but without people who are athletes there to guide them you end up with madness. AN example I had today. I was helped by 4 great kids who were there to help. Before the race the Gatorade cups were filled and the water cups were filled. We also had GU's ( the race was nicely stocked, at least at MY aide station ;) So AT first took it lightly didn't think much of it until the first runner came up and the kids just held out water and Gatorade, not saying anything. There was another woman there but she was not an athlete. I was at the bathroom as the guy was coming up to the station, immediately saw his confusion and watched him slow down.

AS I got here I immediately saw the problem:

1) They were each holding one of each and were not reaching out. better to have each kid hold one type of drink and have them stand apart announcing what they have. Put water up front and Gatorade at the other end of the table. Making sure they are clearly separated. making it easy for an athlete to distinguish what is what. This made things easier for teh athletes.

2) Some of the aids station was set up right before the turning point, so we would catch the athletes as they leave the bike, but force the athletes heading for a second loop to look back for water or supplies, so I made n aid station move, moving it up 50 feet so the athletes could see the aid station as they come in to the loop ahead of time and plan for it, not having to make any special effort.

What I did was not special. I saw others doing the same and after 10 or so minutes the stations were running smoothly. Why? because they had knowledgeable athletes manning the station helping organize the non-athletes. I have had the experience of dealing with race conditions and how they affect me. I have had the confused aid station experience as well as the smooth one. I know what works for me when I am an athlete and can apply it.

Seeing this I realized I cannot leave it up to others to make sure all my races go well. I have to participate in my sport. For an organizer to hire enough people to do this, our race fees would skyrocket. So it really is up to me and other athletes to realize our sport cannot really grow and be the great sport it is if we do not on occasion take the time to help out.

On a personal note I have to say I was a bit inspired seeing folks having a brutal day, tired as all hell hit the turnaround, knowing they have another 6+ miles to go, in 87 degree weather, going uphill. They were not going to win because those guy s were already in. Heck they were not going to have a good time at all. But they pushed forward to finish what they had started despite all of that. Awesome.

Most important, I got a free Technical T and Pizza! Yeah BABY!

Great job to Phil who Kicked A$$ taking first in his AG, and a shout out to the JH CREW who was there in force helping out.

And Great job to Mandy for putting on a great and TOUGH race!

1 comment:

Philip LaVoie said...

oh man... seeing you and the rest of the gang up there made the pain disappear for a little while. huge huge huge ups to everyone who volunteers. you mean the world to everyone out there and make it happen.