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The Marathon Rookie Times, Issue #0020
October 10, 2006


Aid-Station Tips


Race Day Support

Aid-Station Tips

Many of you are closing in on your big day! One important aspect of race day to consider and plan for is refreshments at aid-stations. The aid-stations will be located at various points during your race and will likely consist of a large table full of refreshments and volunteers handing them out. Following are some race day refreshment tips:

Plan ahead: Before you even reach the starting line, you should know where the first aid-station will be and how far apart each station will be located. Plan ahead to determine how often and how much you will consume from each station. Check the race website for aid-station details.
• As you approach the stand, slow down a bit and make eye contact with a volunteer so they will know you are coming to them. They may ask “Gatorade or water” so be ready to state which one you want. ALWAYS thank them!!

• Gently squeeze the top of the cup to allow you to drink more and spill less.

• If you are consuming energy gel during the run, it is a good idea to get one down just before reaching an aid-station so you can easily wash it down with fluid and avoid having to do both at the same time.

• Dispose of your cup(s) by tossing it into a designated trash can. Also, be aware that sometimes cups my end up on the road around the station so be sure to pay attention to avoid a slip.

• Always keep moving forward. Never make a sudden stop to turn around or else you may run into another runner coming up behind you.


"The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win."

- Sir Roger Bannister

Race Day Support

If you are planning to have friends and family cheer you on during the race, then be sure they can actually see you and that you can see them. Get a map of the course (typically available online at the event’s website) and even consider contacting the management of the course to find out the best places for your friends or family to see you. Do not just look at the map and say, “See you at mile 5, 17, 21, and 26.2.” These areas may not be accessible to spectators.

Do not just assume they can get to those points. They may not! Speaking from experience, it is a major disappointment to expect to see your supporters at a specific point and they are not there when you get there. While you know they want to be there, you also know they cannot be there. Plan ahead! Let your supporters know where they can see you. They will give you a major emotional lift when you see them.

Speaking of you seeing them, expect there to be lots of people cheering in the areas you expect to see your supporters and know that it may be difficult to hear them or easily see them. They may want to carry a sign or something they can hold up to attract your attention.

Consider wearing something bright. You do not want your supporters to be at the expected spot and not be able to see you! I am not suggesting this, but during my first marathon, I recall seeing a hairy guy sporting a pink tutu and pink cowboy hat. You will never see me wearing that, but the point is to wear something that stands out so your supporters can easily spot you in a group of runners.

If you will not have personal supporters to cheer you on, then I highly recommend getting your name on your shirt. The lift you will get will be amazing and make the marathon or half marathon fun for you as total strangers cheer you on. Make sure your supporters know where they can see you, make sure they CAN see you, and get support from strangers.

Have fun!

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Happy Running!

Brad Boughman

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