You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, November 08, 2010

Course Support for the Inaugural Frederick 10 Miler

The Inaugural Frederick 10 Miler was yesterday morning at 6:30. I thought about running it but couldn't find anyone to run it with me so I decided to volunteer...and drag the kids along, too. Bill was playing golf on the Eastern Shore so he took Shane to Dee Dee's for the weekend.

We arrived at the start a little early so Ella and I hung out inside the Y (race sponsor) while Hank and Jake snoozed in the truck.  We got our course marshall assignments about half an hour before the race began and headed out. Those of us in the first part of the course of had 2 assignments because there weren't enough volunteers.

The kids were excited about volunteering at first, but they got bored after a while and started whining - plus we were going to Dee Dee's to celebrate Ella's birthday after the race so they were antsy to get on the road.

Our first post was between miles 1 and 2.  I walked up the street towards the next turn and saw that the intersection between the turns was unprotected - opposing traffic did not have a stop sign and no one (police, etc) was there to stop cars. We called the race director and she was under the impression police would be there.

I decided to have Jake stand there just in case no one came - and it's a good thing I did because not only did no one come, but Jake said a couple of times he had to stand in front of cars and not move so they wouldn't go through the intersection as runners were crossing. Kind of a sad statement that would be repeated again later in the race.

We saw a pack of 'normal' runners coming and then suddenly mixed in with the mere mortals there were elite runners on the outside passing everyone. At the time I wondered if maybe a group of speedsters arrived after the start and were making up time.

Turns out someone had moved a cone and the lead pack missed the first turn. They ended up running about .7 miles more than everyone else.

Hank took his job very seriously

There were about 300 runners so it was a nice small race.

The bell tower in the background

After the last runners and the sag wagon passed we loaded up and headed to our next assignment in the last mile.

We got there and this time there were 2 unprotected intersections and 2 turns that were marked but unmarshalled. I parked Jake at one of the turns which was a little out of my sight. I put Hank at the other that was in my sight, and a spectator stood at one of the intersections.
Bored girlie

While I was getting the kids situated we saw a runner coming down the street definitely off course. He had missed a turn and was trying to find the finish. He seemed disappointed but not angry.

The last part of the course wound through a neighborhood and the way the turns were positioned runners passed by the finish line between miles 8 and 9,  and then could see it down an alley again around mile 9.5/.75ish.

It was kind of confusing and I was holding a map. I imagine any of the runners who hadn't studied the course map beforehand were definitely confused.

Several times I had to step in front of cars to stop them because they didn't stop when I held up my hand (it *is* car proof you know. ha!).  I have to say you should think twice about stepping in front of little old ladies on their way to synagogue. Sweet, kind or patient unfortunately are not words I would describe two different women who HAD to turn right NOW.

Grumpy boy

I had three different runners see the finish line down the alley way and try to go straight instead of turning. They were so tired and out of it that they missed the cone altogether.
It was getting close to the 2.5 hours point when the course would close when we learned there was 1 more runner on the course. A couple of folks who had already finished stayed to cheer her in. She passed by with a great attitude and was very excited to finish.

Though just a few minutes before that, the guys who set up the cones came by and started to take the cones. I told them there was still a runner out and the course was still open, and they looked at me like I was crazy. So I told them they could NOT take the cones until she passed. I guess I looked like I was serious because they left the cones in place.

You can't really see the sign behind the white van, but it says "U R All Kenyans!" Loved it!

Once she passed we walked down the alley to the finish line to turn in our vest and flag and saw that almost no one was at the finish to cheer here in. I was a little disappointed to see that, but she didn't seem to mind and was clearly stoked at having just run 10 miles. 

Overall thoughts -
~ Unfortunately there weren't enough volunteers and with so many turns the course should have been better marked with more cones. 
~I have no idea what the aid stations stocked or if there were porta potties elsewhere on the course because there were none near us (but I didn't expect any at those points in the race).
~Runners seemed very happy with the medal and the swag
~Afterwards, I asked several runners what they thought of the race and all but one were very happy with it. The one guy just gave me a sour look so I don't know if it was an off day for him or a problem with the race.
~The weather couldn't have been more perfect. Of course next year it could be snowing or it could be 75 just never know what early November will bring!
~I read the reviews posted (so far) on Active and folks seemed pretty pleased with it so I think we can call it a success. The race director was hoping for 200 entrants and had just over 300 so that's pretty cool.

Barring disaster I plan to run it next year. A big part of that decision is based on me getting a $10 discount on next year's registration since I volunteered. Sweet! Though I really was happy to help out. I love cheering for folks and watching races almost as much as I love being cheered for and running races. :D


Molly said...

That's a success if all the racers were happy! Great that you made a family event of it!

abbi said...

I'll have to keep this one in mind for next year. Sounds like there were a few hiccups this year but I'm sure all the runners greatly appreciated all the points that your crew helped out!!

The Green Girl said...

Aw, it sounds like it was a good thing you guys were there to help out!


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