Once again, I volunteered at the Portland Marathon instead of running. I seemed like ideal weather for the marathon. At 7AM, the start time, the temperature was about 65 degrees. It actually cooled down after that. I figure the best marathon weather is probably 55 and overcast, but I only ran one in San Francisco in an unseasonably warm 70-80 degrees.
My job as a radio operator is pretty simple. First, I call in when the first three wheelchair, men, and women pass the marker at mile 12. More importantly, I call for the sag wagon for people who can’t make it any further. I’m also supposed to call for ambulances and police but fortunately I’ve had no reason to call for anything but the sag wagon.
There are lots of reasons that people have to drop out. 26.2 miles is a long ways to go, and the slower you run or walk, the longer it takes. Staying on your feet for four, five, six hours or more is really taxing. Mile 12 is pretty early to have to drop out on a cool day — mile 16 seems about the time that big problems usually surface. Hot days (like last year) means more heat cramping and dehydration even early in the race.
This year we only had one woman sag from mile 12, and she said she had problems before the marathon. I think if she can get healthy for another marathon, she should train for another one. No need compounding her injury.
So I mainly stood around, at the ready, from 7:00AM to 11:30AM which is the way I like it. It means no problems for the runners and as support staff, I’m just there in case there are problems.