Monday, June 7, 2010

Kettle 100 - Thoughts from a Volunteer

Great note from LPTRunner Cobbie who seemed to be all over the course this weekend -  So great to have him and his energy out there!

I appreciate all of the thanks I'm getting for volunteering from fellow LPTRs here, on Facebook, and via email.  You're all very welcome!  I'd like to share some thoughts I had as sun came up on Sunday morning.

Early on Sunday morning I started reflecting and assessing my performance as a volunteer (those who know me know I analyze EVERYTHING).  I started out at packet pickup Saturday morning, and after the start moved to Tamarack (unfortunately I missed Christine-I'm-just-taking-it-easy-today-Crawford while running back to Nordic for parking passes).   After the runners went through Tamarack I went to horse-riders camp to keep things topped off ("I don't exist, because this station is un-manned, but the olives are real!").  Next I moved to Hwy 67 aid station where I worked with Peter and Anne Wadsack, Roy, and a very nice lady from PA (who was also at packet pickup and later at the start finish).  Around 3pm I moved to Nordic, and later moved to Hwy 12 until 8 am to work with John Bell and his daughter.   I tried to keep an active "try to be as though you were crew" attitude for all the runners, and it was wonderful to see so many runners multiple times as they moved through the course. 

But .... I'm a little ashamed to admit that for a moment while reflecting on Sunday morning I thought myself special.  Soon after patting myself on the back I realized that when it comes to volunteering at Kettle 100, the aid station captains and event organizers are the REAL heroes, FAR beyond anything I did.  The captains I met do this every year, setting up their little oasis, sometimes not knowing how much help they are going to be getting----and help was sparse at two of the four manned aid stations I visited. 

At hwy 67 we were saved by 2 spectators who jumped to help while I drove a DNF back to Nordic, and the lady from PA whose husband was running the event and decided to help out.   Had it not been for them there would have only been 3 people at that aid station during my absence.   In my experience you need 5-6 to keep things humming along when the rush comes, and to keep up with writing down numbers and times. 

At hwy 12 we were saved by the rain and sun that had caused so many of the DNFs.  Were it not for those DNFs John, his daughter, and I would have had a much harder time working the station, and at a cost to the quality of care and attention we were able to give the runners.  John especially had quite the setup bringing much of his own gear (lights, lanterns, music, pots, chairs, tables, tents, etc).   What a guy! 

Then there were Jason, Bill, Timo, and Timo's wife, Ann, who REALLY were everywhere!   Whether it was buying more ice and bringing supplies to all the stations (I still can't believe that we never ran out at hwy 67 as runners were coming from or gearing up for the meadows, simply amazing), troubleshooting problems we were having with the timing laptop, or stepping in to help crew at aid stations, and much much else, they worked through the night and through the next day.  The work that they did to put on this event was simply amazing. 

It was such a good experience to witness this event while working closely with the people who were responsible for making it happen.  My heartfelt thanks to all the aid station captains, the event organizers, and an amazing group of spectators who often jumped in to help out.  

Last, but not least, a huge THANK YOU to all runners: relay, pacers, 100k, 100 mile, and fun run----you are all the stars of the party!!!  I don't care how much you deny it, facts are facts.  It is possible to run 100+ miles unsupported, but it is not possible to support a non-existent runner.  I had a lot of fun supporting all of you!   - Cobbie

No comments:

Post a Comment