I may have mentioned a few times now that I’m helping out at the Glass City marathon a little more in depth this year.  For the past two years I’ve been an Ambassador of the race, helping out with promoting the event and getting everyone as excited about the races as I am.  This year I’m working on the Road Crew, which is in charge of marking the race courses.  There are three separate courses – 5K, half marathon, and full marathon.  That’s a lot of miles to mark!

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This week I started by learning exactly what my new position entails.  Have you ever given much thought to the groundwork that goes into a race?  I mean, when you’re running a race, surely you see the flags and timing mats indicating certain distances in the race, but how do they get there?  I marked the 5K course to learn.

As you can see from these pictures, my first marking of the “Start” was actually not that good.  It’s not very dark!

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But I did get better.  Yeah!

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Here is brief description on how the course marking starts…. the courses for the half marathon and full marathon are mapped out.  I think that happens back in the Fall.  Just about every year the Glass City race courses change a little, mostly due to road construction or closures.  This year was no different.  The mapped courses are then turned in to be certified.  Both the half and full are USATF Certified courses – and a Boston qualifier for the full!

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The miles are then marked by a real professional (not me!)  who puts metal markers into the streets at the mile points.  These are basically surveying points, and they look like pennies in the pavement.  Then it’s my job to go find those points and mark the street!  I get to use permanent paint for the mile marks, other than those in the metropark.  We have to use tape for those areas.  Course marking has begun and should hopefully be done by the end of March.  We mark it early because people like to train on the course!

On race morning, the course crew will be able to find my paint mile markers and put flags up.  That’s the gist of the first part of my course marking job.  A few other tasks come later, but you’ll just have to wait for those!

I’m hoping it warms up a lot so I can take my bike out and ride the course and get this marking done soon.  Otherwise, we might be driving and walking a bit more!  If you are interested in a volunteer position for the races, go to this link and see what’s available.  There’s a lot of different spots available, from being on the course, to packet pick up or behind the scenes.  It’s easy to sign up, and a lot of fun to be involved 🙂

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Q:  Have you ever helped set up a race course?

Q:  What is your favorite race volunteer position?

Q:  Speaking of race courses, was anyone racing this weekend?

I’ve got a 15K coming up next week.  Guess that means I need to run outside again.  haha!

6 thoughts on “Let the marking begin!”
  1. It’s really neat that you do this- I feel like course marking is something that people take for granted… until they run a race and go off course. It happens, sadly! It is one volunteer job I haven’t done (yet) but I know it is tedious. My former coach was the Charleston Marathon director and he had to go with the bike guy to certify three race courses. So… thanks for being out there and doing this! The runners may not realize it, but they will be grateful!
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    1. So far the marks are already on the ground and I’m refreshing them, but yes, it might end up taking more time than I expected! At least I will know the courses inside and out, which is more than I can say for most races I run! 🙂

    1. I did see MIT will be going on some of the course soon. It’s a nice convenience to be able to see what challenges you might have. Although I would not advise driving a race course to anyone… it seems SUPER far!

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