Sunday was the first time I have ever gotten up at 3:30 in the morning to start my day. But the lovely ladies of my running pack talked me into volunteering at an aid station at the Chicago Marathon, which required the early wake up call. Three of us met and car-pooled to the city for our 5 am start time.
We parked the car and before we even checked in we witnessed the end of some fight/hit-and-run. I guess it was still the night before for some, but we were just getting started. After checking in we made our way to the nearby McDonalds to get something to eat/drink and use the washroom. There we saw a host of crazies including a man passed out, a fight and a Dave Chapelle impersonator.
At this point we went back to our water table and filled up several hundred water cups 4 tiers high. All that was left to do was wait for the participants. It was super cold out so we opted to go back to the McDonalds and wait in the warmth. At 7:00 am we met in the street for a quick informational meeting, pep talk and group picture.
Back at our water table we got our phones ready to snap some pictures of the amazing wheelchair participants and the elite runners who’d pass up by first. Since we were set up somewhere between mile 3 and 4 we weren’t expecting to hand out too much water this early on in the race. I was able to snap some pictures before the rest of the runners started to make their appearance and I needed to get my water holding arm ready.
Next came all the other runners. We cheered for the runners with our crazy motivational shouts. If you heard the following while running past aid station 2 you were probably near our table.
“It’s a beautiful day for a marathon!”
“You’re doing Chicago, baby!”
“It’s a PR kind of day!”
“Go (fill in name written on shirt), looking strong!”
“Hey (fill in blogger’s name), I read your blog!”
“Go, (fill in country name written on shirt), looking good!”
Oh, and if you peed in an alley at this aid station you passed our table as it was located right in front of the alley entrance. There were pee-ers of all kinds coming at us left and right.
It was so much fun cheering on all the runners who were out there doing it. I’ve never been more excited and proud to be a spectator. It pumped me up for next year’s marathon when I will be one of those runners. Hey if you volunteer next year maybe I’ll take your water cup or need to pee in your alley.
Have you ever volunteered to work a race? What was your favorite part?