Sunday started with a 2:00 am wake up call to pick up a load of ice for the race. I finally made it to the race start around 3:45, already a few minutes late and off to a worrying start.
After a quick check in at the parking area to see how Duane Allen and our parking volunteers were doing it was straight to the start/finish line to set up the starting corrals, finish chute and lay out the 5k. Moving and assembling barricades and traffic cones. Hauling ice, water, and cases of bananas, power bars and medals. Helping set up the medical tent. Managing volunteers, answering questions, directing traffic . . . . The tasks seemed endless.
Before I knew it, the sun was up and I realized I could finally ditch my headlamp. Oh crap! What time is it? 20 minutes to the race start and time to panic.
About five minutes before the start I snuck a quick glance over at the start line and saw a massive sea of people eager to start the half marathon. I hardly had a moment to appreciate the magnitude of what we had accomplished before I was snapped out of my revelry by 5k runners milling around aimlessly looking for guidance. We had another race start in 20 minutes so it was on to the next thing.
In the distance I heard the national anthem. It broke my heart when I realized I would miss the start of the race but there was too much still to do.
The rest of the morning was spent addressing one minor crisis after the other. Injured runners. Reassigning volunteers to cover needs. A traffic accident involving one of the shuttle buses. Tracking down missing supplies. Keeping food, water and medals stocked. My phone rang constantly. There was a never ending stream of questions. It was exhausting but all it took was a quick look at the faces of runners crossing the finish line to be instantly rejuvenated.
Miraculously everything fell into place. Actually, that’s not true. To credit a miracle isn’t fair. Although I’m sure God was smiling on us, we did not require divine intervention.* It took hard work, planning and the amazing organizational skills of Jennifer Florida.
There are too many people to thank for their hard work individually and I know I would forget someone. So thank you Jennifer Florida and Don Stoner, the heart and soul of Final Mile Race Management, and the tireless multitude of volunteers that made the 2013 Swamp House Half Marathon and 5k such a huge success.
*Truthfully, there was one miracle that morning. My cell phone battery didn't die.