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Sports Backers Blog

Volunteer Guide to Marathon Water Stops

To all the volunteers at the Anthem Richmond Marathon water stops: Thank you! Your role is critical for the safety and well-being of the participants in the marathon, as well as the Markel Richmond Half Marathon and VCU Health 8k. Your encouragement to all the participants makes the Anthem Richmond Marathon known as ‘America’s Friendliest Marathon.’ Your efforts are appreciated by the runners and many will personally thank you as they pass.

Use the guide below from Rick Salamida, one of the marathon water stop captains (along with Jay Lenzi and J.M. Ramey) as you prepare for your role on race day, and learn everything you need from preparing the stations to cleaning up after the last runner has left. And, once again, thank you!

Primary Role

Arrival and Set Up

The early shift will find stacks of tables, boxes of cups, Diamond Springs water bottles, cups and dispenser, a garbage can containing supplies, trash cans, rakes and shovels.  You will need to set up the tables as needed for the particular stops. Ensure there is a 20-30 foot gap between the sets of tables. It is a good idea to have the gap between the last water table and the PowerAde tables near the stacks of Diamond Springs water jugs and dispenser.  Set up the mixing station near the Diamond Springs water jugs. This will minimize the movement of the water jugs.

Set up the mixing station as described in the instructions:

  • Use 32-gallon mixing cans (smaller cans)
  • Put in 2 food grade liners (clear bags)
  • Secure with Bungee cords
  • Let excess air out of the clear liners
  • Pour five (5) gallons of water in (1 Diamond Springs jug)
  • Pour four (4) pouches of PowerAde mix in
  • Stir with mixing paddles
  • Add fifteen (15) more gallons water (3 more jugs)
  • Stir until well blended

The hydration stations have tables stacked with cups of water and PowerAde. The water tables are ALWAYS first as the runners pass by, followed by the PowerAde tables. A short gap of 20-30 feet should exist between the water tables and then the PowerAde tables. Each station may have a different configuration and number of tables but they ALL will have water tables first, a gap, and then the PowerAde tables. Some stops may have tables on both sides of the road, some may have tables on only the left or right. Some stops maybe have three tables each or two tables each. But all stops must have water tables first, a gap and PowerAde tables last.

Pouring and Handing Off

It is critical that you are set up well in advance of the first runner. When they show up, it is too late to catch up. Ideally, have three layers of cups ready on each table.

Filling Diamond Springs water cups with water:

  • Put water jug in dispenser
  • Fill pitchers
  • Pour water in Diamond Springs Cups
  • Fill about ½ to ¾ of cup
  • Put cup on table, keeping gaps close
  • Keep filling cups, building a base layer
  • Put a sheet of poster board on base layer
  • Repeat filling cups and building second layer
  • Repeat for a third layer

Filling PowerAde cups with PowerAde:

  • Fill pitchers with PowerAde
  • Pour PowerAde in PowerAde Cups
  • Fill about ½ to ¾ of cup
  • Put cup on table
  • Keep filling cups, building a base layer
  • Put a sheet of poster board on base layer
  • Repeat filling cups and building second layer
  • Repeat for a third layer

Water Stop Clean Up

Cleaning up each water station is an extremely important part of race day. Clean up the cups by raking and shoveling them in trash bags. Compress the bags and cups if necessary to make more room. Rinse out the pitchers and PowerAde mixing cans if water is available. Break down the tables and stack them in one or two piles.  Leave everything neatly by the tables to be collected shortly after the race is completed. If there is a Smart Box at your location, be sure all of the supplies are out of the Smart Box before you leave.

Thank You!