Yesterday I had a conversation with Becca, the volunteer who set up, manned, and broke down the aid station at the two mile point of last weekend's ACLU Liberty Run in Denver. This race was put on by Creigh Kelley's BKB Ltd, and was the country's first ever completely cup-free road race! Every participant was given a HydraPouch as part of their entry, and only HydraPour dispensers were used to dispense liquids at the aid stations. Here's what Becca had to say about her volunteer experience during this groundbreaking event:
Craig: Hi Becca. First, thanks for volunteering at Saturday's race. Can you tell me about setting up the aid station?
Becca: It was incredibly easy! I had three tables and six HydraPour dispensers to set up. After watching the first dispenser get set up, I was able to set up the other five in about a minute apiece.
Craig: How about manning the aid station during the race - how was that?
Becca: It was awesome. Instead of scrambling to fill and hand out paper cups, I got to cheer the runners on. All I had to do was check the drink levels in the dispensers and make sure they didn't run out. One of them got low but instead of refilling it I just pulled it off the table - with five others we had plenty.
Craig: How about trash cleanup?
Becca: None! Can't get any easier than that.
Craig: Did you hear any comments from runners as they came by the aid station?
Becca: I heard several, including "it's awesome", "easy", and "the spout works great".
Craig: Did people have problems with either the HydraPouch or the HydraPour dispenser?
Becca: One woman had trouble with the HydraPouch because she was squeezing the bottom to open it, instead of the top. She probably didn't see the demo before the race.
Craig: Did any lines form at the dispensers?
Becca: No, not at all. At most there were three dispensers being used at the same time, and that was probably only once or twice. I think we could have handled three times as many participants with the same number of dispensers.
Craig: How was your overall volunteer experience, and would you be more willing to volunteer for a "cup free" race than a traditional race?
Becca: My overall experience was great, and I'd definitely rather volunteer for a "cup free" race. I've been the volunteer who's had to hand out and pick up the cups, and this was a lot better!
Craig: Any additional comments or insights?
Becca: Just one more thing - I had a lot of spectators comment about how great it was that cups weren't being thrown all over Wash Park. It's a very busy urban park and there are a lot of races that get held there throughout the year. A number of people mentioned that there are always cups laying around for days after a race, and they thought this was a great way to help keep their park clean.
Craig: Thanks Becca!