For the past two years I have run the Va Wine Country half marathon. This year I decided not to run it. I made the decision to try to make a difference. I decided that I was going to volunteer and run a water stop. It was also part of Boy Scout Troop and we were also doing as a service project.
It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. I had a deep respect for all the volunteers of all the races that I have done in the past. However, this made me have a new view on things.
As a runner I know how important it is to arrive at a water stop and get what you need. Our stop had water as well as sports drink, Accelerade Advanced Sports Drink. It was orange flavor. Personally, I don't like the stuff but as the adult in charge of the scouts at the aid station I had to guide them in mixing it up correctly. There have been times at races where the sports drink on course was mixed very strong and gave many runners upset stomachs. I did not want that to happen. We purposely made it weak but tried not to make it too weak as I know that some people will rely on what the sports drink will do for them.
Well we got there in plenty of time and got things set up. Started mixing up the sports drink and filling up the cups. I was coaching up the boys on how to pass out the water cups to the runners. I felt that we were ready to go. We heard that the race was late to start, shocker. This is one of the main reasons why I decided not to run in this event this year. Anyway, we had things ready to go and the first runners started to come through. The boys were handing out water and sports drink to those who wanted it. Then it happened. Shit started to get real as they say. We had a swarm of runners. I knew it was going to happen and I thought that we were prepared enough. We weren't. What I did not what to happen, happened. We ran out of filled cups on the table and runners who needed water and sports drink had to stop and wait for us to fill up a cup to give them. I felt so defeated.
I made apologies to those who were stuck waiting. Some were thankful that we were out there. Others seemed to be oblivious that we were even out there.
It was tough but we got through it. It was a very warm day. We made some notes about what we could work on for next time. It was a good time and again I have a renewed respect for all of those folks who volunteer at an endurance event. One thing is that we could have used a couple of more boys out there.