Last weekend Paul and I volunteered our time at an Ironman runner's aid station. We had no idea what to expect and ended up having a pretty good time. I for one was expecting one booth handing out everything, but turns out the booths line about 100 yards of the running path on both sides and each booth hands out one thing. The stations were handing out: ice, gel (runner's fuel), water, cola, pretzels, cookies, fruit, potato chips, wet sponges, and sports drink. We ended up at the sports drink booth!
Our job was to fill paper cups with a large swallow of sports drink, hold it out to runners, and yell "Perform!" as they ran by so they knew what our cups had in them. (Perform is the specific type of Gatorade/Powerade that Ironmen and women train with).
At the beginning it was super exciting every time a runner came through because they were few and far between. Everybody would cheer and give them words of encouragement along with whatever you were handing out. But about half way into our shift the runners were coming in droves and it was kind of hard to keep up. It was also really hot as we were standing in the direct sun by the lake. I tried to keep in mind that even though I was getting sunburned and felt dehydrated, at least I didn't have to travel 140 miles with my body like the runners were doing!
All in all it was a great experience and I'll probably do it again next year. The only bummer was that we didn't get T-shirts because they ran out and I was really looking forward to having an Ironman T-shirt! It's the small things.
Another really cool thing was that my coworker, Tom, placed 7th in the local finishers. Pretty amazing!