|Dashboard showing 4:44 am|
One thing that I do appreciate in Philadelphia is the sponsor hotel. The Crowne Plaza--West Philadelphia is not the nicest hotel or the newest, but the great customer service that is exhibited by the employees makes up for the cosmetic issues. The staff truly go out of their way to provide a great weekend for the race participants. Jack, the concierge, is always ready to assist and has given us some great advice of where to find Philly's best pretzels, cheese steaks, and restaurants over the years.
|Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West|
|Hand washing station|
One of the sponsors of the race is Johnson & Johnson so the medical tent is well stocked as you might imagine. Unfortunately, we had a first hand look at the supplies in the tent. In fact, the Hubster was the first customer during the Sprint race. On his way in to the swim, he stepped on an unidentified object and put a good gash in his foot. When he finished the swim, it was bleeding badly. The medical attendant at the swim finish put a quick bandage on it and advised that it would likely need stitches. A race official escorted him to the medical tent where his race ended. This is the first race ever that he has not finished so he was seriously bummed. The medical staff was great though!
For the Sprint, spectators can watch the racers head to the swim entrance from the far side of the transition area. The Olympic swim start occurs on the other side of the river. Athletes are bused there from the transition area so spectators miss that whole evolution.
|Finish line before the race gets underway|
1-Establish a meeting spot for after the race. Everyone wants to be near the finish so it can be very difficult to find your favorite racer. Plan a meeting place away from the crowd.
2-Know the times your athlete expects and when their wave is scheduled to start. With most races, the start is staggered so that age groups enter the water in about 6 minute increments to reduce the overcrowding during the swim. For the Olympic race in Philly, this meant that the last wave started swimming over an hour after the first racers began the race. Don't worry, the racers time starts when they do and the timing chips keep everything straight--even if the clock at the finish shows the time elapsed since the official start of the race.
3-Well ahead of the race, purchase a RoadID and make sure they wear it while training too. There are numerous things that can happen during a race, but it is more likely that the unplanned event will occur in training. A RoadID can help your loved one when they may not be able to speak for themselves. The Hubster has been hit while riding his bike, and his cousin's wife was hit by a car while running. She was unconscious so her RoadID really did speak for her. Things happen--make sure your loved ones are protected. (I feel so strongly about this product that I have a link on my site). We use a RoadID as a MedicAlert for Youngest and my grandmother had a bracelet in case she got lost, so they are not just for athletes.
4-Study the course map. If you are willing to walk a bit, you can get away from the crowd and have prime views of your racer. If you live in the area, visit the course ahead of time and pick out some places so that your racer will know to look for you and can position themselves for good pictures.
Who knows, maybe someday our paths will cross at a race.