In due course the supporter acquires immunity from most people who usually put on their noncommittal, disinterested look after the initial surprise. But children and dogs are another matter. Kids are not known for being diplomatic and on more than one occasion supporters have been reminded about the idiocy of their situation. Dogs on the other hand assume the chair to be part of the surrounding landscape and feel free to look up the supporter all over. On one occasion, on an especially cold and wet morning in May, I found myself standing by the side of the trail holding an umbrella in one hand and a book in the other. On a day when very few runners braved the elements, a surprised dog was so taken aback, that it came to a halt in the midst of a sprint and could only stare at this strange specimen.
Being the overall co-ordinator of the support team is quite eventful. Even on days when I was not out and about on the running trail, I was usually woken up by other supporters with all sorts of queries. The best one was - it's raining, what should I do? The first thing which came to my mind was not very polite. Suffice to say that it required a super-human effort to just ask the supporter to grin and bear it. Being the overall co-ordinator also means that Google maps is your best friend. Water supporters usually make it a habit to get lost early on Saturday mornings. One particular volunteer decided that since he did not see any runners within a few minutes of arriving at the preassigned location, he would go where the runners were. Only, he ended up on a private road with a dead-end and no running trail in sight. And proceeded to stay there for the next hour.
Luckily I called him up and persuaded him to leave before the owner of a house nearby called the cops.
Others would prefer to literally hit the stop running, on many occasions covering themselves with more fluid than drinking it. Some others would get into detailed discussions about the running route and the intermittent mileage. Sometimes it didn't matter if the support person responded or not, the runner was just happy to talk to something not resembling a tree.
The running styles of the various members of the team were a joy to behold. Some ran as if their house was on fire, others as if they were out on a leisurely mid-afternoon stroll. But most looked like 9 year-olds being forced to do homework by a particularly sadistic teacher in the middle of summer vacation. Some ran with their eyes closed, fists pumping, lost in their little world of music, perspiration and lactic build-up. But no matter how they ran, they achieved that very few people do, they successfully trained for, ran and finished a marathon. 26.2 full miles on a Sunday in Chicago, Washington DC, New York or Philadelphia don't tell the story of 6 months worth of hard running, pain, sweat and tears. We, the supporters are glad that we could be part of the runners' dream. Makes it all worthwhile at the end. Great job!