(#39) Long Beach 5k – Handing Out Medals (October 12, 2014) – Part 1 (Our Set-Up Is Terrible)

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

Aurora unwrapping medals at the Long Beach 5kOriginally, I was signed up to course marshal the marathon. But when I got there, they needed people at the 5k finish.

I would think finish lines would be the most coveted spots. But for whatever reason, in this case, they needed people there. So, off I went to the 5k finish!

First we all unwrapped the medals. Then, we got to just hang out for a while ’til the race started. Not long after the start, volunteers loaded medals over our arms and went out to the finish line, prepared to hand them out.

And we were pretty much a mess.

We ended up making 2 lines perpendicular to the finish line. However that configuration came to be, it was soon apparent that it was a pretty terrible idea. We’d made kind of a chute, and volunteers in the back of the lines kept coming in closer and closer in so racers would see them and go down to them.

With our lines moving in closer at the end, we were creating a total bottleneck. Racers seemed annoyed, and there was a lot of unnecessary traffic. So, something needed to be done.

First, I took it up with one of the people in the black shirts. We green shirts were just there to help, and the black shirts were there to organize, answer questions, and help guide us.

So, first, I deferred to the correct hierarchy – asking the black-shirted person above me. And that person was too busy doing a bunch of other things (which I could totally understand – I’m sure they have a lot of responsibility). At that point, I figured we green-shirted people obviously needed to figure out a solution on our own.

I started going to the other people who seemed to be noticing that our setup was terrible. And I said, “At the very least, we should make 3 lines [to cover more of this very wide finish area, and help dispense people in a better way where runners will have more access to us].”

One person I was talking to was this woman I thought might be involved as perhaps some sort of scout leader or teacher of some sort. There was a group of high-schoolers there who seemed to know this woman, but I wasn’t totally sure. At the time, I thought enlisting her help may easily get that group to break off, and boom! We’d have our third line.

Well, she either was not in charge of that group, or chose not to change anything in the group, (or was just placating me when she said she was in complete agreement and that we needed to do something to change our set-up), because she did nothing with that group.

And this is where I’ll pick up next time.

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