As most of you know, I'm not a triathlete. I snuck into the Club by being a duathlete and marathoner, (and because my wife Sadj has pull). But I was at Columbia as a volunteer at the swim finish, and want to share my experiences.
Of course, we arrived ridicuklously early since Sadj was in the second wave. I performed my traditional sherpa duties, and was immediately impressed with how SERIOUSLY FOCUSED everyone was. After everything was properly arranged (about three times) at the transition station, I wandered over to the Club tent. What a fantastic array of food and goodies Kristin had set up! She is true wonder. I did assemble the (very complicated) s'more maker for her, showing off my engineering talents.
After seeing Sadj off, I hustled over to my station, where 10 TNT volunteers were awaiting me. After assessing the situation, I dismissed six of them (I can't disclose my selection criterion). Our mission was to guide swimmers to us, making sure they were able to continue, and keeping the snakes away. (Believe it or not, a snake swam by the edge of the ramp about two minutes before the elites came in. About 20 minutes later, a snake swam ONTO the ramp, giving several orange cappers a jolt of adrenalin!) Nina, the head of the medical unit, and the Director of the Ho Co Rescue Unit were also with us. You were in good hands.
It was very exciting and inspiring to see the stamina and determination displayed by the swimmers as they came in; after reading some of your RRs, I now know what the conditions in the water were. But most came up to the ramp, got their bearings, and charged up the ramp onto the grass. Unfortunately, I didn't recognize most of the club members as they came out. Let's face it, you look very different with goggles and skull caps!
After two hours plus of shouting, cheering, and waving my arms, the last swimmer came in. (He was totally exhausted; he had a white cap, and I suspect he was in the second wave!) I worked my way back to the run finish, to observe a bunch of true heroes charging across the finish line in a full range of states of exhaustion and euphoria. I was truly moved!
After Sadj came in with her PR, we went over to the Club tent, where Kristin was holding court and hosting the best spread in the park (better, I hear, than the race's food tent!). Never have I experienced such camaraderie, support, fun and elation as was found in our tent. Many congratulations, back slaps, hugging, and high fives going around. The spirit in this club is OFF THE CHART!
I heard many of you say that the race was FUN, and you had a GOOD TIME on the course. You know, I've run 19 marathons, and not once have I heard a marathoner say he or she had fun. Maybe I'm in the wrong sport!
Congratulations to all the participants. You did us proud!