We once again volunteered to man a feed station for the Staffordshire Ironman 70.3 half-triathlon event. This involves setting up, preparing the drinks and food, handing them out to the riders (ours was the last station on the cycle ride) and cleaning up after the event finished. A busy few hours for everyone who attended.
The Staffordshire Ironman 70.3 consisted of of a 1.2-mile swim in Chasewater reservoir and a 56-mile bike course through the stunning countryside outside Lichfield, Burton-upon-Trent, and across Cannock Chase. That was followed by a 13.1-mile run which this year took the athletes in and around Stafford Town Centre before finishing in Market Square. Although parts of the route, particularly the run, were different this year our location remained the Marquis Drive Visitors’ Centre on Cannock Chase, which forms the last of the feed stations on the 56 mile bike ride.
As volunteers we arrived on site at 7:30, and began the set-up. There were 4 Rotary Clubs in attendance at the station with Aldridge, Burntwood and Eccleshall Mercia working with us to do everything. The single biggest task once the tables and marketing gazebos are in place is to mix the power drink and fill bottles, as well as water bottles, getting them into position in plenty of time for the lead racers. We had a little extra time this year as it turned out, as heavy mist on Chasewater led to a delayed start.
The weather had started misty and a little overcast, but it brightened up as the morning rolled on, and by the time the last of the competitors had gone through our station, around 1:30, the sun was out. We managed to get through the day with no mishaps, and mostly those riders wanting drinks and snacks got them – the new size bottles did prove a little tricky initially!
The full race results are available on the Ironman website, and it’s always interesting to see if the leaders at the time they pass us are the same at the end. They’re often not, but this year my my recollection it was, with Elliott Smales wearing #20 passing through first. He won the overall race is a little short of four hours, which of course means he had a rest before we did. But then maybe his job is just a bit harder too. Each of our volunteers will receive an amount of £30 paid to the club’s charity funds, and that will go to good causes later in the year. We had 9 people involved, so we’ll receive £270, which is pretty good for a morning’s work.