I thought I’d do something a little different and write up a report from the other side of the fence.
Saturday Race Kit Pick up
Arriving at our Race Kit Pick location Sport X, by 9:30 am, I unpacked my computer and joined my fellow committee member Phillipa in setting up the area. The first thing we noticed was that bibs were not in sequence as we expected. The second thing we noticed, the bibs and the database file did not align.
“Crap” , the Bib download must have happened before the registration closing date. This meant we would have some people who registered but were not yet assigned bibs. “Ok” …just have to deal with it.
People started filtering in, most had the same comment. “ Can you do anything about the weather tomorrow? “ To which I replied consistently “Already taken care of, don’t worry it will be fine”
Phillipa got fed up and started organizing the bibs. One thing about Phillipa, she does wants needs to be done.
By about 1:00 pm, we had only handed out about 120 kits. This is not entirely what we had hoped for, because life on race morning is much easier if everyone picks up ahead of time. Again, “Oh Well!”
By 3:30 pm, we packed up. About half of our kits had been picked up. We had hoped for about 60 – 75%.
I arrived home and started loading up the truck for the next day. Most of the stuff was in the rafters of my garage.
– 12 race in progress signs – Check
– 6 Hand held stop signs – Check
– 432 cups – Check. “hmm” I thought..” Is this enough?”
– Bowls, knives for cutting post race food – Check
– 3 remaining Boxes of Buffs – Check.
– Race Placeholders – Check
– Personal files including download – Check
– Extra timer watch – Check
I piled it in and left enough room for the 4 coolers of Heed I’d be mixing up.
Time for supper – Time is flying now.
Around 6:30 pm, I decided to start mixing up the Sport Drink. I removed all of the lids and started to wash these with soap and hot water. (You guys will be thankful.) To the bath tub I went and started cleaning the coolers excessively. After that, I began mixing. At 7:30, I moved them all to the truck and locked it up. ….Back to email, read all the last minute questions.
– Can I change distance?
– Can I send someone else to get my race kit? Huh? It’s race day….
– What’s a timing chip?
– What time does the race start ?
– Is it still at the hospital?
– What if it rains?
– Can I carry a gorilla?
..and so on.
I finish this off by about 8:30 and decide to head to bed. The morning will see an early start.
I bet the excitement so far is killing you.
2:00 am – Look at the clock, is it time to get up yet? Nope.
3:30 am – Look at the clock, is it time to get up yet? Nope.
04:30 am – Look at the clock, is it time to get up yet? Almost
05:15 am – Screw this, I a getting up!
Up out of bed, I shuffle to the kitchen and grab my coffee and head back to the computer to check in. I see a post from Phillipa, so I know she is up. I have a couple more emails from runners, so I answer them.
At 6:00 am, I grab my gear and head out the door. I just remembered I forgot to eat..but at least I have my coffee
06:20 am. See Wendy is already there. Pull in, stretch and start looking around. Wendy and I discuss where to put the tents up and where the best place for the announcing booth is. Phillipa joins us a few minutes later.
06:30 am – Portapotties arrive – direct them to the location on the back of the parking lot. Discuss briefly the portapottie that is going out on the course. Sounds like it’s under control, Brian of Armstrongs Pumping has good idea for placing it.
06:40 am – Start unloading my truck. Place the pilons along the edge of the street to ensure no one parks. Place 6 signs out at intersections along the street. Jen is here..when did she get here?
06:50 am – Greg from Sport X arrives. We begin putting the tents up. I help until the Sports Stats guys arrive. Head over and meet them. Explain how we want things set up, discuss fine details of the day and expectations. Explain that we did not have a lot of Kit pick ups the day before, so that could mean more changes and registrations are inbound. Also explain that the Bibs do not line up to the database, so there will be additions. As always, the guys are “Pro” and take it all with a smile.
07:15 am – Start getting the Set up crew ready to go. Jen is splitting up the cups and arranging the water. Phillipa asks me where the rest of the cups are. I get that feeling in my gut. Phillipa gives me that look…she has a look. I know what the look is.
I get the Heed coolers ready to go. Greg and I talk over the table placement. I refer to Wendy’s volunteer sheet. Greg arranges his crew and off they go.
At around 07:30, I hear a train. Oh Great!! The train is leaving early…we will be fine!! I look down the road to see if Greg got across but can’t tell. I give him a call…yup..everything is fine.
Registration starts picking up as people begin arriving. As expected, it’s crazy with around 150 people trying to pick up there Kits. In total, we also ended up with 40 Race day edits/changes/registrations. The volunteers are flying!! They are the best.
08:00 Greg calls me – Are we sure we want to table at 7.5K? It means the 10K gang will only have access to the 1 table ( they will still pass it twice ). Too late to change the plan this year…lets just go with it.
08:10 – God..less then an hour to the start..where is the time going? Get on the speaker and let everyone know they can go inside the hospital to warm up a bit. Registration and Kit pick up is still lined up and I get a message. No more trains until 2:00. One less thing to worry about.
08:15 Greg calls back. The portapottie for the back end of the course is…not exactly on the road. It’s about 150 meters into the bush. Of course it is….damn.
08:20 – I hear another train! OH SHIT! 2:00 pm my a##
08:30 – Long lines continue at registration, I get summoned to the Sports Stats Van. We talk about race start, how we will do it. They ask when registration will close and I tell them 15 minutes. They have to change the mats because of radio interference so it moves down . I head over to the Registration table and politely let everyone know that we have 15 minutes. They smile…they are awesome.
08:40 – A handful of forms and changes hit the Sports Stats van. Sorry guys…it happens. Sports guy gives me a synched watch to his clock.
08:45 – Greg is calling me to the front. When did he get back? Jesus…things are moving fast. Phillipa or Wendy go inside and ask everyone to move outside so they can listen.
08:50 – Begin speaking..so much I wanted to say…I have been rehearsing all week…but I still sputter and stammer my way through. Good Lord!! I’m rushing because I have to get people to the start line. I remind everyone to stay to the left, remind them about headphone usage..all the normal stuff. Linda Bisonette comes up and says a few words.
08:55 – We draw the names for the bike raffle courtesy of Paul Spinelli Cooperators insurance. Then we ask everyone to head out. I ask everyone to please stay to the left, normal running rules….
09:01 – Half and 10K start! Right down the middle of the road. Oh God. I see a car coming in the distance…Oh God. I remind the 5Kers who have come forward to stay to the left. I wait an extra minute because the Half and 10K folks are still only within the 1K mark.
09:04 – 5K group start…..right down the middle of the road. Oh God. Now I have over 200 people running down the middle of the road.
09:06 – 2K gang starts. Phillipa is leading them out..they stay to the left.
A collective sigh of relief..the race is underway. I chat quickly with some friends. My buddy Kevin Kerr is with me again this year. Every year I need him for something and every year he is there for me. It’s one of those situations where we won’t know until it happens.
09:16 – The first 2K start coming back! We’re cheering them on and trying to catch them. A steady stream begins.
09:25 – The first 5K starts to arrive back. Some fast feet out there!
09:30 – Someone calls me over. We need more cups, Aid station 1 is almost out. Finish Line is almost out “Crap!!” I knew it…I messed that one up What was I thinking?
Aid station 2 has no garbage bags.
Phillipa smiles and disappears into the hospital. She emerges with bags and cups. I look for Kevin..where the hell is Kevin!!??. Wendy lets me know that Richard ( our radio guy will go out if needed ). I look for Kevin for another 5 minutes and then go to Richard. Sorry..can you get these out there for me? He smiles and says “sure”
09:36 – The first 10K arrives home. Fast Feet.
I am angry at myself for the cup situation..”How did I not know that would happen after 3 years?” Totally on me. Damn!
I’m snapped out my temporary self loathing by a call for a medic. Dennis is running up “ We need a medic, a lady has fallen.” I am right beside the tent and call for the help. The ladies ( Linda, Suzanne and Nancy ) spring to action and run down the road. Luckily, it is just about 200 meters from the finish line. My heart sinks…it’s something you HATE hearing.
About 10 minutes later, the crew make their way back. All is well. Mental note – having a first aid crew on hand is very important.
People continue streaming in, but the atmosphere and mood starts to shift from anxiety to happiness . The sun comes out ( it was supposed to rain ) and a few begin telling me I was right about the weather. “Of course I was!!”
Around 10:15 we begin the award ceremony for the 5 and 10K. We’re about 15 minutes late, but many of the 5 and 10K were arriving home and I did not want to interrupt their finish line. I call the names one by one, pictures are taking and prize money given. Special Thanks to Natalie Daigle for donating hers back.
10:21 the first Half Marathoner arrives back. Cheering all the way around as Patrick Kelly blows through the gates. Wonderful runner.
Greg and Dennis continue announcing as I spot our friend Graham Ross coming in a strong 3rd. I run out to him and tell him to go back, that he took the wrong turn. He tells me to “Go to Hell.” That was not nice at all.
More folks finish, and I begin chatting a little more. Pictures are taken, tents and tables begin to come down and people begin to clear out. I take the time to ask people how they liked it. If they would come back. Any suggestions. All say “Yes” to coming back. Some tell me they missed the trail. Some tell me that my description of a rolling course was a little “light”. Everyone seems happy.
A few corrections are made with Sports stats to the Half times. We’re missing the 2nd place finisher entirely. Kinda important.
Around 11:15, we begin the Half award presentations. Time begins to finally slow down again. I have no idea where the morning went…it was there..honestly.
We begin the clean up, the cyclists begin arriving back and the radio guys are telling us where the final runners are.
At about 12:00 noon, the last of the runners arrive home. By 12:15, Sports Stats are gone. Tents are down and hospital belongings are back where they should be. We’re emptying garbage, stacking pilons and removing all trace that we were ever there.
Around 12:15 , Greg takes the set up crew back out to take down the course. We all stand around and reload our vehicles. We talk and wait for Greg to come back. Around 1:00, Greg appears and the day comes to a close.
My legs feel like I ran a marathon, and I slowly feel my shoulders start dropping below my ears. I have not eaten or drank since my coffee. Guess it’s time, but first I am going to watch my daughter compete at gymnastics.
So….there you have it. The morning through my eyes. I left out a lot, but I wanted to hit the key points. I am sure my co-organizers Wendy, Jenn and Phillipa could tell you something almost entirely different but the same through their eyes. Events like this tend to be a blur, you basically buckle up and hold on tight.
My thanks to everyone who participated but especially to those who volunteered.
See you next year…with more cups!