Wayne’s Word

December 9, 2007

Life Lessons from a Race Course Sentry

Filed under: Running — Wayne @ 11:00 pm
Tags: , ,

Governors & GallatinIn my previous life (my 20’s), I ran the Rocket City Marathon once. In the years after that, I gradually stopped running, but recently I started back again. Since my training is not yet back up to marathon length, my participation in this year’s Rocket City Marathon was as a race course sentry.

It’s a fun job. A “Special Sentry” (really, that is what the instruction sheet calls it) gets to wear a goofy looking bright green vest, set out race cones and then direct runners. In my case, I pointed runners to the cones marking the right lane and said “right lane” as needed. I also got to point a few cars to the left lane if they weren’t paying attention to the police officers directing traffic. The active Governor’s Drive construction site made it even more interesting.

Life has taught me that there are lessons to be learned in almost anything you do. Since this was my first time as a sentry, there was even more to learn. So, if you will forgive me for broadly over-generalizing, here is what I learned in four hours one Saturday at the intersection of Gallatin & Governors, the 25.7 mile mark of the Rocket City Marathon.

  • If you wear a bright green vest near a construction site, some pedestrians will mistake you for a construction worker and ask you when the road will finally be finished.
  • One the plus side, however, being near a construction site means there is always a port-a-potty handy.Princesses
  • If you say “right lane” and point to the cone marking the right lane, some runners will same “thank you” to the person who just bossed them around, even after running 25.7 miles.
  • Women are much more likely to do this than men.
  • If you are a course sentry who also happens to be a guy, you will be so stunned by this it will take 10 or 15 people saying “thank you” before you think to reply “you’re welcome”.
  • Standing up for four hours will make your feet ache a lot more than you would think.
  • Likewise, holding up your arm to direct runners to the right lane makes your arm ache a lot more than you would think.
  • It’s fun to direct traffic, even if all you are doing is pointing the cars the same way as the police officer the drivers weren’t paying attention do.
  • A few people will dress up to run the marathon. Women will be sensible and just wear a tiara. However, some guy will dress up in a complete Mr. Incredible costume. And, oddly enough, he will be the last one across the intersection before the course is closed.Mr. Incredible
  • When 1200 people run past you, you are likely to see someone you haven’t seen in 20 years. (Hi Charley!)
  • As a people, we don’t always pay attention to directions as well as we should. Running 25.7 miles doesn’t help this any. However, if a few people do it right, everyone else will follow their lead.
  • And, as much as you might be tempted direct the runners by saying “Runners, right lane; victims, left lane”, saying “please” is more effective.
  • And finally: Some people will ask “how far?” If you are a half-mile from the end and say “half mile left”, at least one woman will say “I love you” and at least one guy will ask “Exactly?”

See my album page of the photos I took.

(2017 note:  Sorry, but the server with the photos is gone.  I’ll try to upload them elsewhere and fix the links.)


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