Website Manager

Gilmanton Youth Organization

Reach the Beach

What is Reach The Beach?

For several years, GYO has had the opportunity to park cars for Reach the Beach in exchange for donations to our organization.  I've personally been involved for more than 5 years and I was completely hooked right after that first night.  

So What is Reach The Beach?  
Reach the Beach (RTB) is a running event where teams of runners run (relay style) from Bretton Woods to Hampton Beach in a 24 hour period.  The teams are comprised of mostly 12 people but there are some "Ultra" teams that are six or less runners.  Throughout the state of NH, there are several relay points where runners hand off a wristband (baton) between the team members. Because the majority of the running teams are made up of 12 runners, they spend the time leapfrogging over the checkpoints in the best mixture of which legs, time of day and logistics work for the teams.  For more information, click here to check out their website.  

So Why GYO?

Whenever the runners complete a leg, there is a place called a Transition Area (TA) or Exchange where the vans park and wait for the runner to complete the leg and transition to the next runner on the team.  Gilmanton Elementary School is TA20 for RTB.  The organizers look for local charitable organizations that would be interested in being compensated for their work in the form of a donation.  GYO took the challenge and have done it since the beginning.  

What's Involved?  
The GYO Team of volunteers arrive at Gilmanton School at 11PM (Yes - 11PM!) and stays until 7AM.  We're issued stylish orange traffic flashlights and flashing vests and get assigned an area to work.  Our jobs for the night:

  • Parking Attendant (Guiding vehicles into parking spots) - Sounds easy, right?  Most of these teams have rented big vans that they've NEVER driven until the day before.  Fast forward 20 hours after leaving the Hertz rental counter and here they are in Gilmanton, dead tired from running their leg, sleep deprived and trying to park in the dark.  
  • Traffic Control (Keeping runners from getting hit by cars) - The runners are walking around trying to find bathrooms, food, their teammates, etc.  Combine that with sleep deprived drivers of oversized vehicles and you have potential chaos.  
  • Scoring (Checking runners in while arriving) - Every team has a runner that is coming into TA20 that night.  Last year there were over 500 teams and the scorer(s) have to record the team number for EVERY team that crosses into TA20.  Some moments there can be multiple runners all showing up at once and so this job can get a little crazy.  
  • Ambassador (Answering repetitive questions all night) - Not really a specific job assigned to anybody but rather something that we all have to do over the course of the night.  You will be asked many of the same questions over and over.  What town is this?  Which TA # is this?  What time is it?  Is there a 24 hour gas station nearby? Where is the starting area (even though there are flashing lights right on the road)?  Where are the bathrooms (even though there are 400 porta potties that you can smell near Middle Route)?  

Biggest thing to remember is that there are approximately 500+ teams that are made up of 12 people.  There is a good chance that TA20 could see nearly 1000 cars carrying 6000 runners in an eight hour period!!

Is It Fun/What's In It For Me?
  • A night without sleep (who needs that anyway)
  • You get to play with walkie talkies
  • A bunch of childish banter on the walkie talkies (if you're into that sort of thing)

On a serious note, it really is a great night of fun (as hard as that is to explain to someone who hasn't done it).  You get to support GYO and hang out with people who (like you) are willing to help GYO earn some money to keep improving our programs for the children of our community.  Everybody is a winner with RTB!.  

I Still Have Questions?

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or if you can't wait to sign up and want to make sure your name is on my list, feel free to email me!  

Adam Mini
TA 20 Captain