Drinks stations are what most runners will welcome as an opportunity to “take a break”. Some may even plan their pacing according to the location of the drinks stations. Usually, ice, first aids, toilets, gels, bananas, isotonic drinks, biscuits or fruits are available at these drinks stations, and amenities will depend on the length of the race.
But what are we doing wrongly at these ‘comfort’ zones? How can we improve all runners’ approach at drinks stations?
1. Move to the back
Runners tend to crowd at the front of any drinks station. Human jam starts to form up. With a drinks station averaging 10-15m in length, moving straight to the back to get your water may eliminate any unnecessary unhappiness and frustrations.
2. Take and Go
If possible, do not stand still and finish that cup of water. Move along to make way for the back runners to get their water.
3. Show your appreciation for the volunteers. Say “Thank you!”
A lot at times, volunteers are under-appreciated. They station themselves hours before the start of any races and stay in position till every runner finished their race too. Most do not get any monetary return. They usually shout out encouraging words for all the runners motivating them on. Can we show them some appreciation with a kind reply “Thank you”? This is the least we can do.
4. Throw cups/rubbish only in designated areas.
Do not just throw them on the road. There is usually a designated area for dumping at the end of the station. Kindly move to the rear and dispose the cups/rubbish in a proper manner. Cups/rubbish littered on the road, runners may trip over and thus causing potential injuries or unhappiness.
Every runner’s race experience can be improved with each other’s help. Every volunteer’s race experience can be improved with each runner’s compliments. Although we can’t control the drinks supply and race expectations, we can improve each other’s journey to the finishing line by being sensitive and considerate to all participating parties.
Thank you and enjoy your next race!