I am not sure what is harder being the participant of an event or being the supporter. Now I know that probably sounds ridiculous but bear with me on this. When you are the participant of course the effort is harder as you are doing the actual event but I think the stress of the support role can be tough, albeit in different ways and for different reasons.
I have just returned from Marbella where a number of friends and club mates from Havering Tri completed Ironman Marbella 70.3. It is awesome to see everyone on the course and especially the beaming smiles on the finish line but the day generally goes something like this for the supporter (I am using myself as the example here):
- up as early as my husband to make sure first and foremost that he actually gets up
- going to the start line with him
- waiting outside transition as he does a final check on his bike and drop bags
- waiting as he applies sudo cream and glide to stop chaffing (yes you read that right)
- waiting as he goes into the sea to acclimatise
- waiting as he stands in his timed pen before he enters the water
- running round to bike exit to make sure I see him on the bike out
- running round to your decided place on the run course so I can see him head out on the run (I say run but a good spot is like gold dust so you get there early and camp out)
- spend hours on the tracker seeing where they are and if there is a glitch panicking and wondering what has happened – inevitably suspecting the worse to then thankfully know that was silly as your team mate runs out and soaks you with water (not the husband but a friend – thanks Nick). You also know roughly when people should finish so there is also that moment where you start to say he should have been here by now, do you think he’s ok?
- run around the run course to see him at difference places
- run to the finish to get my good spot to see him finish
- stay around until everyone you know finishes
- scream and cheer a lot
- realise you are probably sun burnt
- realise you have not eaten or had anything to drink over the course of the day (and this never happens)
- stay around until the final runner finishes, which is what everyone from Havering Tri did at this event (last tri club there to support #justsaying)
- walk slowly with your tired participant to get their kit and bags
This doesn’t mention the months of training, moods, stressing, packing (and often unpacking), laying out kit the night before, getting nutrition ready or any of the pre-event prep.
I knew 12 people taking part in this event (plus 6 adult supporters and 4 kids) and seeing each and every one of them before, during and as they completed was amazing!
It is all totally worth it and I certainly earned my beer! And so did they as they came first in their division!