Monday, August 30, 2010

Viewing a Water Stop from the Other Side

The members of the Buckeye Striders volunteered to work a water stop at the Spirit of Columbus Half Marathon yesterday. The experience was a whole lot better than last year's race -- both for the volunteers and the race participants.

Still, there were a couple of bumps that made it a little challenging. With planning we were able to get beyond most of those glitches. From the little experience I have working water stops, here are some things to think about.
  1. Large pieces of lightweight cardboard can be used to stack more than one layer of cups filled with water. We were able to stack three layers. This is especially helpful when you do not have a lot of people to help pass out water.
  2. If your water stop will also pass out an electrolyte beverage, it is important to have at least two tables: one for water, one for electrolytes.
  3. Water pitchers make it a whole lot easier to fill cups. Those giant, orange Gatorade beverage coolers are great, but the spout is way too slow to fill cups when there is a crowd. If you can take the lid off the cooler and fill cups by dipping and filling a pitcher, it will go much faster. We had one person line up empty cups and another filled the cups.
  4. We found out too late that the water and Gatorade tables were too close together. Make sure there is enough space between them that it is easy for the racers to tell who has what.
So, we had a successful water stop this year! We had plenty of water, we had plenty of cups filled in time, we had two tables and for the most part the race participants had a good race. And a small portion of that good race was because of us.

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