Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Behind the Scenes Look.....Manning an Aid Station!

So over the weekend we had the privilege of manning an aid station at the Bad Bass 5K, 10K, and half-marathon at Lake Chabot.  This race was hosted by Brazen Racing, one of our favorite and highly recommended Bay Area trail racing companies.  We have always known that from an organization standpoint, the race directors Sam and Jasmin have really dialed in a series of trail running events that is well supported.

Brazen has found its niche with the 5K to half-marathon trail runner with both fun and challenging courses (including its 50K Diablo Challenge).  Also, most races are a family affair, with people of all ages and abilities taking on the challenge.  Our girls developed a love of trail racing on their Rocky Ridge 5K.  And of course, everything is first rate, from the race shirts that you want to continue to wear, to providing medals for every participant (something unheard of with the other Bay Area trail running companies).  In fact, our girls now get pretty disappointed when they don't get a medal (at Emma's first 10k, the inaugural year of the Walnut Creek Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K didn't give out medals for the 10K or 5K participants, great example of a truly unorganized race!!).  You can tell by the extra attention to detail that the race directors are definitely catering to the runner and it can be seen by the loyal following they have.

So it was my wife and mine privilege to volunteer.  And volunteer we did!!!  We were given the assignment of the first aid station at a little over 1.5 miles in.  This is the aid station that would see the most action with the half marathon and 5K runners going through once (the 5K turnaround was at our station) and the 10K group going through twice (the 10K course is an out and back).

Here is where we really saw the organization at hand. Every aid station had its folder which included instructions, what should be at the aid station, what to do if there is an emergency, etc.  Since there were four aid stations for this race, the different quantities were doled out as well as the required equipment for each location.  Everyone there was engaged to get there assignment done, helping each group get their supplies.
The ranger arrived to help us transport the supplies to the set up location.  Now, if you have ever run a trail run, you know that an aid station is not like a road race, there are a lot of goodies to snack on between stations.    However, Brazen exceeds what you would typically find at a trail aid station.  It was really fun watching the kids eyes bonk out of their head when they get to the aid station to find gummy bears, M&Ms, jelly beans, chips, cookies, and pretzels.  I would say there a few kids in the group that lingered at the station to fill up with candy.  That's ok, though, since they would be burning it off back to the finish line. 

And of course there was water and sports drink.  We had a team of 6 at our station, which meant that we took turns filling cups as we handed out the drinks.  This is where, I think, Brazen also gets it right compared to a typical road race.  Basically the volunteers are fellow trail runners.  So they know how to position the cup for the minimal spillover as a runner runs by.  As runners we know what it is like to come across a poor performing aid station and therefore will not do that to fellow runners.  I will say, the time at the aid station flew by.  There were times I think we almost couldn't keep up; however, somehow we managed to keep everyone supplied.

I will have to say, there are other well organized race companies out there.  However, Brazen Racing stands out in its attention to detail while maintaining its family feel.  And having the privelage of volunteering only makes me want to do it again as well as continue running with them!!!  Thank you Sam and Jasmin!!

For the next Brazen Race check here!!!

1 comment:

  1. It was SO cool to see you two out there! I love working aid stations, and not just for the free race you get out of it. You really get involved in everyone's race and the enthusiasm is contagious. Plus, you have a chance to pick up a runner that's having a tough time - an encouraging word can make the difference. And Brazen is definitely the class of the group, especially when you have people just getting started (although they get a bit spoiled by the medals and shirts and such).


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