Contact Me:

Follow me at
Email TinaFab at:

Monday, 5 May 2014

Calgary Mara: 411 on H20

We runners love volunteers. 

We Hi-5 em at races! We shout that we couldn't do it without them. We give and get hugs on course. We even let them dump water on us on those super hot days!

But have you wondered what happens to get the WATER on course? Or about the logistics that happen to ensure everything runs smoothly on race day?

Planning for a race like the Calgary Marathon begins as soon as the course has been finalized and approved by the city. It takes months of work! And flexibility is key. Changes can occur to a route due to venue location changes or construction.
Fun Facts about Race Day Water! 
The amazing Cori did this infographic for me!
  • Once course is set, the logistics team “map the route’. 
  • They drive the route and take photos of areas where water station is planned (ideally located 3km apart) 
  • A route report (driving instructions, photos) is given to aid station captains, port-a-pottie delivery guys, and water, equipment truck drivers.  This detailed description ensures the equipment, water and people all show up in the correct spot!
  • The logistics team calculates how many run through each aid station - resulting in a spreadsheet detailing equipment needed at each location – cups, tables, garbage cans, rakes, jugs, water, or gels!
  • While you might see 3 or 4 volunteers at an aid station, there are several shifts. So throughout a race there could be 14-20 people working at a station at any given time!
  • Before the race volunteers drop off the equipment and do set up. Then they make the rounds dropping off the aid station volunteers. And then they take it all down.  
  • So on race day... every aid station has had somewhere between 12-40 working at it to ‘make it happen’.

This year Calgary Marathon has 13 aid stations with 2 bonus “water only” stations. 
Marathoners will get water twice at aid station 11 and aid station 12 along Memorial Drive.
The 50km runners pass by 4 times! 
THAT means marathoners get 17 aid stops and 50k-ers get 19!

How much water is that? 
Not including finish line or the water bottles you get with food 
Calgary Marathon uses about 550 5-gallon water bottles!
 That means 175,000 paper cups for the course alone! 
No wonder it’s a great idea to GO GREEN and bring your refillable water bottle!

MUCH THANKS to Michelle Simonin, Logistics Coordinator 
on the Calgary Marathon Committee!   
For the past six years, she and her FAB logistics team have worked to make this race go off 
without a hitch. And, their work has helped keep us runners hydrated and happy. 
Michelle has been running since 1999. She has ran 16 marathons, 1 50km, 5 Ironman races 
and “too many to count” halfmarathons!  


  1. that is a lot of water and sounds like a lot of work setting it all up. so awesome!

  2. That is a very important and very high-stress job for sure. I wouldn't want to be the one responsible if water came up short, as it did at Chicago 2007. Yikes. But yes, we're all so appreciative of the volunteers!

  3. I'm ever so thankful to Michelle and other race coordinators that make sure we're hydrated. When I did the Rio Marathon they supplied water in plastic baggies (weird), I was so happy that I took my own water bottles! Great post and thanks for the fun facts.

  4. Whoah, that is a lot of water and a lot of logistics! Great job Michelle S on your coordination for this event as well as for your marathons and IRONMAN accomplishments! Great job Cori on the infographhic. Tina, you ladies are a great combo! :)