by Morgan McAslan, Asheville Marathon Ambassador
The water stations at the Asheville Marathon and Half are special.
Generally, water stations can be a mixed bag. When you’re running past a water station there always seem to be a half a dozen cups being lunged at you at the same moment and if you decide to grab one it is an awkward dance of trying not to spill, continue running, and get most of it in your mouth. And then of course there is the search for the trash can, which is almost always a small target, so instead you see people have flung their cups haphazardly on the ground.
But at the Asheville Marathon and Half the water stations have the added bonus of being fun and super supportive. Each station is manned by a non-profit organization so everyone at each given station knows each other, is having a good time, and wants the runners to succeed. They hand out cups, but there are also cups on the tables set up to grab if you miss a hand.
The gels or food are lined up nicely on the tables which at every station are spread long so as not to create bottlenecks. Plus, there are kiddie pools for the trash at the end of the line of tables, which is a much larger and more attractive target than a trash can. Many of the water stations have runners passing by in both directions so there are tables and volunteers on both sides handing out cups and gels.
Last year, while running through the vineyards, one of the women at a water station helped me rip off layers and put them in a clothing bin, which are at every station. It had gone from 25 degrees to 50 degrees since I started running and my body was overheating. I’m very grateful to her for her help and support.
Around mile 18 there were kids dressed up handing out gatorade and water and cups of pretzels and fruit and cookies. That far into the race, positive reinforcement is incredible. The kids were excited with every runner going by handing out enthusiastic high fives. It certainly gave me a smile and a boost of energy! Most of the volunteers create signs, dress up and set up chairs to get comfortable for the many hours they will be manning the water station. They are there because they want to be there to support the runners and it leaves a wonderful impression as a racer. iDaph Events gives $500 to the Water Station of the year, so make sure to vote for your favorite water station after the race!
The Asheville Marathon and Half supplies water, gatorade, gels, fruit and cookies at their races. There is a station at least every three miles to keep the runners safe. A full breakdown of water stations is available on the website under the Course Description including what they will be providing and what volunteer groups are manning them.
Morgan McAslan is an Asheville Marathon Ambassador! You can view her profile and others by visiting this page.