For any of you runners out there who have never volunteered at an Aid Station, you should.
One, you should be giving back to your fellow running community.
Two, you get a new perspective on a race.
This is the third year of being Captain of the Fire Tower Aid Station. Race Directors designate someone in charge, ie “captains” of aid stations. This is the person in charge, who watches over the runners and other volunteers. This is the person who may have to tell you that you haven’t made the cut off, or pull you from the race due to your physical condition. In many AS situations, there is no communication with the RD or Race Headquarters due to remote locations, and the AS Captain is solely in charge at that time.
A 50K race rarely has dire scenarios like I outlined above. A longer race, such as a 50 or 100 miler, usually has much more carnage and monitoring of runners, especially in races in much more remote locations.
We have a great group of volunteers for the Fire Tower AS, and many are volunteers from last year. Everyone knows what to do and it all goes pretty smoothly. I do more cheering and spectating that any actual work all day due to the great work staff assembled.
I do bring a bunch of my own gear. After working AS for the last few years, there are items that I find useful to have available:
Cutting board: ever try cutting up a watermelon on a rough wood table?
Knives: sharp ones, to cut oranges, watermelons, etc, and duller ones to use to spread peanut butter onto bread.
Plastic ladle/spoons-so you can mix up your Heed/Gatorade concoction with something cleaner than a stick!
Bucket, cloth, detergent. So you can clean up your utensils/pots/tables at the end of the day
Old bedspread, old T-shirts that I am discarding. Haven't used these yet, really not needed in a 50K-but you never know. When a runner comes in chilled, or starting to get hypothermic, you got some spare clothing you don't want back to donate to them.
I also throw in rain poncho,hand warmers, bug spray, suntan lotion regardless of the weather temperature. You just never know what the temp will end up. For a volunteer, with all day duty, it could be all of the above.
Now it's time to start watching the weather forecast-for both Saturday and race day Sunday. Saturday we mark the course (much of it with lime) so it would be good NOT to have rain!