The race was a lot of fun, although not without a few hiccups. Compared to when I volunteered in 2009, I found this year slightly less organized. Not the whole race, but just the water station itself. There wasnt enough of a "management" presence, as whenever we needed help or guidance nobody could be found. Instructions werent really given to people as to how to fill the cups, stack them, etc. So there was a lot of variation between tables. In addition, there was a shortage of supplies. This isnt unusual, but yet somebody should have been managing the sharing of supplies or directing how things should be dispersed and instead volunteers were grabbing stuff like a free-for-all. We didnt have a jug of Gatorade or a pitcher to pour it into cups for our table. Instead we needed to use the Gatorade from the tables to each side of us, and make a jug out of a cut out water bottle. Not a huge deal, but the guy next to us had a pitcher in each hand and was using them to fill multiple cups at once. Might have made a wee bit more sense if each table at least got a pitcher :)
The race itself was great. It was hot - and the runners looked pretty hot and worn by the time they got to our station, less than 1/2 way in. But, there was plenty of water and Gatorade, in addition to misters and wet sponges scattered throughout the race. At least according to organizers, things went great. I havent heard if runners actually thought the same thing, but plan to do some blog surfing in a bit to get a participants viewpoint. Here they are, chugging along at mile 10.5 ... looking good!
At the conclusion of the race there were tons of left over water jugs and Gatorade mix. Any box that had been opened (each box had 4 jugs of water and 4 Gatorade mixes), regardless of whether or not a water or Gatorade was missing or opened, had to be thrown out. It was something do the the inability to store these open supplies. There was so much waste. It seemed that they should have known this would happen and that an arrangement was made to store the stuff or donate it. Im pretty sure there are 1,000's of organizations in the city that would have taken the gallons of water at the very least. I wonder if all water stations did this, or if each station was done differently?
Overall it was (another) great experience at the Chicago Marathon. Volunteering still did not give me the urge to run it again, but I know my sister (who volunteered with me) has been pondering it. I wonder if she feels inspired or repelled by her volunteer experience? I guess we find out the answer to that question in October of 2012 :)