Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fitathlon Volunteering Recap!

The ninja and I showed up at the Fitathlon at 8am, as per the instructions when we signed up to volunteer. The venue was set up, but there were maybe 5 cars and barely any volunteers.

It was very strange, maybe 200 people showed up to race and there were only maybe 20 volunteers in total. This was the first time that I had volunteered and raced in the same day, so when we signed up to volunteer we signed up to help out at the water tables together, so that it wouldn't be too strenuous.

Yea well that didn't happen. Once we got there one of the THREE staff members just assigned us to two different obstacles. He didn't even ask us where we signed up to be or anything. I understand that a lot of volunteers didn't show up, but it bothered me that they acted like they were giving us a choice, only then to turn around and ignore our preferences. On top of that the Ninja and I got separated, so what was supposed to be a joint effort turned into a day all alone at the obstacles.

We got to our stations at 8:15 or so, and the race started at 9, later than it was supposed to.  I was the only volunteer at my station and it was the same for the Ninja at his station. There was not a staff member to be seen, and no one had a radio. This REALLY worried me, what happened if someone got hurt. It would take me about 5 minutes to get back to the registration tent, and 5 minutes to get the staff member back to the obstacle if someone was hurt. Thankfully I didn't have that problem, but it shouldn't have been a worry in my opinion.

The first volunteer shift should have ended at 12. From 8:15 until 12 I didn't see anyone other than racers. No one came to relieve any volunteers to take a restroom break, or get any food. It wouldn't have been too bad but when 12:30 rolled around no one had come to even let the volunteers go to line up to race. Finally at 1 I had to leave my obstacle to go to the restroom. At this point I found a staff person and asked if they would relieve the Ninja so he could grab some food and a restroom break before the volunteer heat started. The volunteer heat was supposed to start at 1:15, but it didn't start until 2! This happened to work out ok, because the Ninja didn't get anyone to relieve him until 1:45 anyway. That was 15 minutes to change, get food, and use the restroom before we started the race. That was a huge difference to the 1 hour and 15 minutes described on the volunteer website.

Overall it was a very disappointing volunteering experience. It was so different compared to my volunteering experience at the Spartan Race. I understand that they were expecting more volunteer, but there were only THREE staff members!! THREE! I feel that if they wanted to put on a race they should have at least one staff member per obstacle, one at the start line, one at the finish line, and two at registration. That way if all of the volunteers show up it works great, but they aren't relying on those volunteers to pull off that race by themselves. 

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