The Vitruvian Long Distance Triathlon seems to be the Pirates end of term party. As it takes place at Rutland Water, not too far from home I thought I might go and support Meldy and the rest.
Then I looked at the website and they were asking for volunteer marshalls, and I did think that that was better than just standing around shouting 'Go Pirate' for 7 hours. So I volunteereed for that. The email thanking me for the offer was very friendly. Then came the email asking me whether I would be at the Friday evening briefing (no, I wasn't planning to stay overnight) or at the Saturday morning briefing at 5.45 (eek).
And that was why I got up at 3.15 on Saturday morning and drove in the pouring rain across the midlands to a dark car park, only light by a few head torches (and I had not even thought of bringing mine).
Things got better - the rain had stopped and I was offered a warm bacon bap:>).
After a briefing we went down to the lake to marshall the swim start. Strangely the idea of walking into the lake in a wetsuit didn't seem to put people off doing this - but the amusingly some of these young chaps (first wave was male 18-29) - some with Iron man tattoos - had difficulty walking across the pebbly beach! My job was to shout at the later waves, to keep to the right before the start and not impeded the earlier swimmers on their second lap. (They mostly ignored me.)
Once the ladies in the last wave were off it was on to the bike feed station. Here I had to be bossy again (how did they know I am a teacher?). This time jsut before they collected new bottles htey coudl ditch their empty bottles. I collected these to be binned. A couple of pirates offered to recycle some - so they picked the best for washing and reusing. A dreadful waste really, especially as they were classed as 4 for recycling so cannot go in the council bins.
After everyone was on their second lap I moved on to the finish. Here I was collecting chips and lap bands. These triathletes were amazing - they had just competed a gruelling race over 4 and more hours and yet they were apologetic that I might need to bend down to remove their chip!
There is a great range of emotions that people experience - some are in tears some are ecstatic - some are just completely drained.
And then its all over - last pirate has crossed the finish line and the clearing up begins. I don't know how many plastic bottles were used during the day, but we had a box of bottles prefilled with water. These could not just be emptied and used next time, they would have grown green stuff at least. So what to do with them? Well a few pirates were lurking round the bar (no surprise there then) so they took a bag full to share around, my fellow marshall took some for her swim club and I brought some home for runnerbeanz and his mates.
I had been on my feet for nine hours, done more bending my knees and back than I had for a long time and really enjoyed myself.
I wondered whether it might confirm my belief that triathlons were for other fitter peole. It didn't. I t made me think that I should get fitter. The trouble is that at present I have no confidence on the bike. I have been for little pootles of 2 miles round the local roads, but going any further (other than round in small circles) means venturing onto main roads and hills. I just don't seem to be able to progress. My confidence has not been helped by one of the pirates being hit by a bus in the race - she'll be ok - only bruising and a broken collarbone. But it could have been MUCH worse.