PATENT RIGHTS APPLY After watching several marathons, walks and cycling races as well as long distance track items I realized that there was a lot of congestion at water points where water sachets were handed out in a conventional way because runners, walkers or cyclist had to fall in behind each other which slowed them down or in most cases had to come to a complete standstill in order to be able to get water. Furthermore a large number of volunteers are needed to man these water points as one volunteer can hold a maximum of two to three sachets in each hand. In a comparison one water dispenser can be maned by 2 - 3 volunteers. The way, of handing out the sachets is also more hygienic as is the case with the conventional method used.
After studying this way of distribution I came to the conclusion that the only way to alleviate this problem would be if one could extend a device horizontally over the road with between 20 - 40 sachet hanging from strips with clips on, or the bags could have tear-off corners without opening the bag as runners / cyclists prefer to open bags when they need refreshments. In this case runners passing the holder can pluck one or more of the sachets from the holder with ease without congregating at the side of the road nor would they need to change their line of running or would they need to stop to get refreshments. As far as cyclists are concerned, the cyclist also does not need to change their line of cycling and they have the choice off which hand they prefer to use to take the sachet with and is it not compulsory with the left hand as is the case now with them riding with the flow of traffic.
The invention was tested so far with Middelburg Marathon Club, Middelburg Cycling Club with their race from Middelburg to Aventura Loskop ( 200 cyclists), Midas Marathon Club with the Belfast Trout Festival 21 km race and the Mc Carthy 42 km race (1200 runners) Columbus 3M Loskop Race (4000 runners) and ultimately The Comrades (12 000 runners). Comrades Athletes, Provincial cyclist as well as other participants found the invention unique and made it a lot easier for runners and cyclists alike.
In the meantime the proto type was improved too such an extent that it now has four extendable arms with 80 - 120 sachets. The dispenser can now be refilled without coming onto the road in front of runners / cyclists and when the one projecting limp is empty the full one is rotated through 90E over the road. While the runners continue to remove fresh sachets from the holder the projecting limb off the road is restocked. The runners / cyclists can make use of the arm extended horizontally over the road or the two which are parallel with the road.
In smaller races of 350 participants one of these dispensers per water point will be enough but if one look at bigger races of more than 350 runners / cyclist more than one would be needed but still you would need 80% less volunteers as is the case with the conventional method currently used.
The invention is also used as a very effective advertisement medium as the top of the horizontal bars is an excellent place to advertise where it will feature prominently in any television coverage of an event where they focus on runners/cyclists taking water/powerade in comparison with conventional water points where sponsor material are placed far away from where the actual focus of the media is.
Although the invention has been described with reference to a water stop in marathons it should be appreciated that the device could be used in any type of race involving runners or cyclists even in track events at schools and other venues.
To summarize what is a water point all about
The Runner / Cyclist
- Do not need to change their line of running,
- Do not gongregate at the side of the road,
- It is more higienic because it is not held by hand,
- The water stay cooler because it is not held by hand,
- They do not need to slow down or stop,
- Volunteers do not come onto the road
- Get exelent media coverage because of the camera's angel which normally do not cover the sponsors who display on the side of the road.
I would like to get feedback from runners if they do make use of water sachets as to what they think of the idea.
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