I can swim, bike and run. But I’ll never do all three of them in the same race. I, like so many others, am in awe of the athletes who took on the challenge of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ad 26.2-mile run.
By the time I arrived at the run aid station at 5 p.m. Sunday, the Ironmen and Ironwomen had been on the course for 10 hours. The swim started at 7 a.m. The last finishers came in at midnight after being on the course 17 hours.
Some of the runners going past me looked like they were just starting out. There were others who I was amazed were still on their feet.
Scoopie came out to cheer on the runners. Scoopie wasn’t the only one.
I thought it was cool that people were tailgating at the race!
The aid station was organized chaos. The run course is two loops on an out and back route. So people are running in both directions and we’re handing out water, ice, cola, fruit, pretzels, cookies, sponges and plenty of other stuff. I thought it was weird the first time I saw it two years ago and then a friend pointed out to me that the competitors need to replace thousands of calories over the course of the day.
There were more than 200 volunteers working at our aid station alone. What we provided just at that one station (according to the email from our TNT campaign manager):
1,400+ gallons of water
600+ Gallons of Powerbar Perform Drink
20 Gallons of Chicken Broth
5 cases of Bananas, 6 Cases of Grapes, 5 cases of Oranges
Many Pretzels, Cookies, Chips, tons of ice and sponges!
I jumped to work handing out sponges. When I first got there they were clean sponges soaked in ice cold water to give the athletes a little refreshment. When I left they were dirty sponges in dirty water, but it didn’t matter as much because it was dark and cooling off and not many people were taking them.
Today people were jumping back in to register for next year. The race always fills up immediately when registration opens up the day after the race. I read on the web site that there was such a demand for the registration (entry fee? A cool $575) that the site went down and registration wouldn’t reopen until noon Wednesday at the earliest.
I was exhausted after spending three and a half hours on my feet at the aid station. But thats nothing compared to how all those competitors must have felt. Hopefully they got to take today off to put their feet up and bask in the glory of being an ironman. Its a distinction I’ll never have. Nice job ladies and gentlemen! I’ll be there next year to cheer you on!