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Volunteer to Staff a Time Station for Race Across the East

As Race Across the East racers traverse the country from Blanchester to Atlantic City, they will periodically pass designated Race Across America time station points where both RAE and RAAM racers check-in with Race Headquarters and report their progress. There are 11 time stations to Atlantic City, all of which are located in towns or cities along the route.

 

Several of these time stations are staffed by local volunteers, creating a welcoming and fun environment to the arriving racers and support crews. In addition to providing food, refreshments, and other amenities, staffed time stations become a gathering place for fans to come out and cheer on the racers as they pass by. Racers may not stop (it is a race, after all), but their support crews will often spend time at the staffed time stations, taking a much needed break from assisting their racers. Returning racers and crew will look forward to arriving at the staffed time stations, knowing the welcome they will receive, and will use it as an incentive to keep pedaling.

2018-06-21 RAAM Ohio Jen Magnuson Photography-1453.jpg

Volunteering to staff a RAAM/RAE time station is a great way to support and see the race up close. It can also be a way to increase the awareness of your organization locally and beyond. In some cases, staffed time stations have successfully been used as a platform to raise funds for local charities. 

 

The following are suggestions for setting up a RAAM/RAE staffed time station. They should not be viewed as strict requirements, but helpful tips based on others’ experience with past races. Because this is a volunteer activity, it is up to those organizing to determine what level of support they wish to contribute staffing the time station. No matter what the contribution, it will be greatly appreciated by the racers, support crew, and race organizers. 

1. Location

 

The first step is to determine whether your city or town is on the RAAM route, and whether there is already a staffed time station located there. If you are on the race route or nearby, determine where on the route the official time station site is located. The overall route map, list of time stations, both staffed and unstaffed, and maps showing the time station locations can be found at https://www.raamrace.org/route.

 

The staffed time station does not have to be at the exact location as depicted on the route map. There may be another location either on or just off the route with a large area to set-up, such as a park, a school, or local business willing to share their parking lot. Do not select a location that is well off the race route. Racers must follow the race route exactly and may not want to take extra time to deviate from it. Regardless of where you set-up, make sure you have the proper permissions to use the location (from the local municipality, school, business owner, etc.). If required, RAAM Management can provide a certificate of insurance to cover any liability.  

2. Supporting Organization

 

It is often useful to enlist a local organization to assist with setting up and running the staffed time station. Such organizations could include a local bike club, a civic organization such as a Rotary Club, a chamber of commerce, or charity. Involving an organization will help with recruiting volunteers to staff the time station and provide additional support. If you plan on soliciting donations of food and supplies for the time station from local businesses, having the backing of an organization can help in this endeavor. 

3. Nearby Amenities

 

Put together a list of nearby amenities that could be useful to the racers and crew. These can include the following:

 

  • restaurants (both sit-down and fast food)

  • gas stations/convenience stores

  • hotels

  • hardware stores

  • bike shops

The list does not need to be all inclusive, but should include establishments on or just off the race route.  Be sure to include addresses and phone numbers for each establishment.  You can send this list to RAAM Management, who will compile a complete list of all amenities at each of the staffed time stations to provide to racers and crew prior to the race.

4. Supplies

The following is a useful list of supplies that you may need for the staffed time station: 

  • Tables/table covers

  • shade/easy-ups

  • camp chairs

  • generator (if no electricity nearby)

  • extension cords/ power strip

  • heater

  • propane for grill or heater if needed

  • coolers/drink cooler

  • coffee maker

  • disposable plates/cups/utensils

  • disposable aluminum pans for food

 

Determine what you would like to provide at the time station.  Feel free to be creative. Some suggestions include having a grill for hamburgers/hot dogs, providing breakfast burritos or pizza, setting up a pot of chili or soup, etc. If your resources allow, arranging for a food truck to be on site can be a fun addition. Keep in mind that the racers and crew have been subsisting on bike nutrition, fast food, and whatever they prepared to bring on the race. A warm, cooked meal is often a welcome addition after several days of racing.

 

Depending on the location of the time station, you may want to consider reserving a portable toilet to be onsite. This can be for both the volunteers staffing the time station and racers and crew.

  • hospitals/urgent care centers

  • pharmacies

  • RV Campgrounds

  • laundromats

  • hand sanitizer

  • paper towels

  • garbage cans

  • trash/recycling bags

  • lights

  • flashlights/head lamps

  • batteries

  • bike stand/tools

  • first aid kit

  • banners for your organization

5. Operation

The location of the time station on the route will determine when it should be staffed.  Solo RAAM racers will start in Oceanside on Tuesday, June 11th, while RAAM teams will start on Saturday, June 15th. RAE racers will start in Blanchester on Wednesday, June 19th. In the early stages of the race, these two waves will arrive at the time stations separately, in some cases with a few days in between. At time stations in the eastern portion of the country, the arrival of racers may be spread out over several days. You can view the estimated times of arrival of racers at each time station on the RAAM website at https://www.raamrace.org/route.

During the race, the estimated arrival of racers will be updated in real time on the Results Page on the RAAM website at https://www.raamrace.org/results. In addition, all racers/teams will have a GPS tracker with them, which will allow you to see their exact location at https://www.raamrace.org/live-tracking.

 

It is up to you to decide what hours you wish to staff the time station. Keep in mind that in many cases, racers could be arriving at 2 PM in the afternoon or 2 AM in the morning. It is understandable if volunteers are not available to be present in the middle of the night. If you wish, you may set the hours when the time station will be staffed as daylight hours only or however you see fit. Be sure to inform Race Management what hours the time station will be staff, so they may include this in the pre-race communications to the racers. 

 

Many thanks for your interest in volunteering to staff a RAAM/RAE time station. If you have any questions or need additional guidance, or if you wish to sign-up, please feel free to email us at info@raceacrossamerica.org.

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