Well, this weekend I had scheduled plans to help my friend M complete her first marathon. She had signed up for a tough local race, once that had a lot of hills, and a pretty arbitrary policy of telling people to not sign up if they thought they would take more than 6 hours max. Even those who thought they might be over 5 hours had to sign up for an early start time. As a result, there were only about 200 marathon runners, and my friend was SUPER nervous.
The week before her race, I agreed to meet her about 25km into the looping course, and help her run the rest in. 12-15k was something I knew I could do just fine, so I planned where to park accordingly. The morning of the race however, everything went wrong. I couldn't get to the place I wanted to, so had to park with all the participants, and had to walk the course to the 25k mark. This meant about 5k of walking to get to the meetup point, with a bag on my back in 28 degree heat. I was worried I had missed my friend, and kept an eye out for her. I texted her, and was scared when I got no response. There was at least one marathoner I passed who collapsed at the 20k mark, and I assisted another in dropping out on my way to the meetup point.
Finally, I called my friend, and found out she was just approaching where I was. She had got to the 23 k mark, and decided that running it wasn't fun, and she wanted to cross the finish line with a smile on her face, so she made the executive decision to walk the rest of the race. Somehow, I was convinced to walk with her. So, I accidentally completed my third half marathon this weekend. My friend was the last person on the course, and didn't finish in the 6 hour time limit, but thanks to some great volunteers, she had a human finish line to cross and a medal to receive when she got there.
I had great fun being a sherpa for her, even with the blisters and sore muscles the next day. I got home to my husband saying he told me so (I said I wouldn't do another half marathon again) but that was ok. It was my first time "spectating" and was completely enjoyable. If all my races were like that, I would do a half marathon anytime. There were no expectations, no pressure to complete in a certain time frame. The goal was to cross the line, and in the end, we both did.
Anyone have their own "spectating" stories where you ended up being more than just verbal support? What do you think about a race having a time limit?