Mercy 3K Walk and 5K Run - Volunteer Instructons

Fletcher's Cove 3K and 5K Volunteer Instructions

Dear Volunteer,
Thank you for offering to help! Please share these instructions with all others on your team.

Start / Finish:

  • The course starts and finishes at the footbridge across C&O Canal Towpath at Fletcher's Cove, 4940 Canal Road, Washington DC 20007 | MAP
  • The upper parking lot has about parking 85 spaces
  • When those spaces are filled, a volunteer will instruct you to stay right, go thru a tunnel under C&O Canal and Towpath, and down to a lot with about 200 free parking spaces
  • Directions:
  • Directions from Georgetown and points east:
        •• Take M Street westbound past Key Bridge
        •• At Foxhall Road, M Street becomes Canal Road. Continue west for 2 miles.
        •• Watch for Reservoir Road on right and entrance to Fletcher's Cove on left.
        •• CAREFULLY turn left - watch for oncoming traffic

  • Directions from Maryland and points west:
        •• Take Clara Barton Parkway eastbound
        •• At Chain Bridge where Canal Road begins. Cross Arizona Avenue.
        •• Watch for the entrance to Fletcher's Cove on the right.
        •• Turn right VERY CAREFULLY -- the right turn there is very sharp

  • Continue down the driveway to free parking
        •• We have 85 parking spots on the left above Fletcher's Cove
        •• When those spaces are full, drive through the tunnel on the right to 200 free parking spaces below Fletcher's Cove
  • Courses:
  • 3K course GMAP
  • 5K course GMAP
  • Start at bridge across C&O Canal at Fletcher's Cove
  • 3K -- walk northwest for 1500 meters to the aid station under Chain Bridge and back
  • 5K -- run northwest for 2500 meters past the aid station under Chain Bridge to the point with three boulders and back
  • Course Marshals:

  • Please review the course description and maps
  • We intend to place red arrows <== ==> at each of the two turnarounds
  • Mercy 3K and 5K both requires at least 4 volunteers underneath Chain Bridge to pour and serve water & Gatorade and to clean-up, post-race
  • Street map to Chain Bridge
  • Mercy 3K participants turn around at Chain Bridge and walk / run back to Fletcher's Cove
  • 5K participants pass under Chain Bridge, continue to a turnaround point marked by three boulders, and walk / run back to Fletcher's Cove
  • Mercy 5K requires at least one course marshal at the turnaound point | Please look at the westernmost point of this GMAP

    Aid Station Volunteers:

  • Please review the course description above.
  • We are not required to have volunteers who are first-aid / AED /SPR certified, but SHF offers first-aid certification classes at least once yearly


  • Please drive TWO cars to the aid station, so you have one available in case of emergency
  • Please pack these provisions:
  • One five-gallon cooler of water for each 100 runners you expect to see
  • Since we have about 200 runners who pass your aid station twice, out'n'back, you need FOUR five-gallon coolers of water
  • One folding table strong enough to hold 100 pounds of water
  • Two folding chairs
  • Four 100-cup sleeves of paper cups
  • Two trash bags
  • Two trash boxes
  • One pair of food-handling gloves for each volunteers
  • Optionally: portable folding tent
  • Optionally: first aid kit
  • Optionally: Gatorade or other athletic drink mix -- if so, bring gallon bottles or a third five-gallon cooler of water, plus a stir=stick
  • Instructions:

  • Arrive at Fletcher's Cove about 45 minutes before race start time (arrive 8:15 AM for 9:00 AM start; arrive 9:15 AM for 10:00 AM start)
  • Pick up supplies including folding table and water coolers at Fletcher's, then drive west to Chain Bridge, carry provisions down the ramp, and set up underneath Chain Bridge
  • Unfold table with handle pointed away from trail
  • Please set up trash boxes on both sides of table, then also 10 meters, 20 meters, and 30 meters out on each side of table
  • Put on food-handling gloves
  • Pour 200 cups of water, each about 3/4 full, and place them on table
  • Take a cup of water in each hand
  • As runners pass, hand them a cup of water
  • During breaks between runners, clean up area
  • If runners asks, "How far have I gone?" please answer "1500 meters, 0.9 miles" if they are running outbound and "3500 meters, 2.2 miles" if they are running returning
  • Make note of the bib number of last runner / walker who passes you outbound, so you know when that person passes you again returning
  • After last runner / walker passes you returning, clean up thoroughly including all discarded paper cups
  • If you mixed a cooler of Gatorade, empty the excess into the creek, then please wash the cooler thoroughly with plain water; please also rinse the table
  • Empty the excess water into the creek
  • Fold the table and chairs
  • Return all provisions (tables, chairs, coolers, leftover paper cups, and trash bags) and also filled trach bags back to Fletcher's Cove so race director can return them to race manager or dispose of trash off-site
  • Emergency Response:

  • Please read this section carefully so you can respond quickly if needed

  • In case of ANY runner who stops, call the race director at 703-927-4833 so we know of the problem
  • Render aid immediately. Rapidly-delivered first aid / CPR can save a life
  • Be aware of your location and the nearby color-coded-numbered post

  • If a runner cannot continue but is uninjured, conscious, and lucid:
  • Ask, "are you OK?" and additional questions to establish lucidity
  • If a runner is not lucid or unresponsive, you have implicit consent to provide aid. Call 911 and report your emergency
  • If a runner is lucid and can answer questions, ask permission to assist
  • If a lucid runner DECLINES permission to assist, do not assist. Instead, call 911 and report your emergency
  • If a lucid runner GRANTS permission to assist, then ...
  • In cases of severe injury or illness -- hypothermia (too cold), hyperthermia / heat exhaustion (just tired) / heat prostration (can't talk, can't move) / heat stroke (unconscious), a deep laceration, a puncture wound, an insect sting if the runner is allergic, a broken bone or a compound fracture, food poisoning or related illnesses (diarrhea, vomiting), shortness of breath, profuse sweating, pale skin, or highly flushed skin, call 911 immediately, provide your location assure the runner that help is on the way
  • Then provide first aid as above if you are certified or if you feel protected by DC's and Maryland's Good Samaritan Laws
  • Do not stop rendering aid until either you are relieved by another trained person or 911 help arrives
  • Get the runner off the trail and to a position where 911 emergency responders can wheel a stretcher to the person
  • On a cold day, provide fluids and warmth, and allow the runner to recover in the warmth of one of your cars
  • On a hot day, provide fluids and shade, allow the runner to recover in the shade inside one of your cars
  • In either case, do NOT allow the runner to continue
  • If a runner cannot continue because of injury, please wear gloves before handling
  • Ask permission before touching the runner in any way. If the runner grants permission, then perform necessary first aid. Wash any wounds with water, cover any wounds with bandages or gauze wrap from your first-aid kit, and use adhesive tape to secure the wrap
  • In the case of a muscle strain, wrap the affected area to prevent further strain
  • Apply ice for a few minutes, then let up for a minute before re-applying, so you don't freeze the skin
  • If the runner does NOT grant permission, offer water and bandages so the runner can self-wrap and ice so the runner can self-treat
  • In some cases, after medical treatment, a runner may be able to get up and continue on. I have been felled by foot blisters twice at marathons, then got up after treatment and finished
  • Do NOT encourage injured runners to finish. If necessary, transport the runner back to the finish line or call the race director for evacuation
  • Thank you so much for your help! Please call me with any questions at 703-927-4833 or 703-505-3567
    Jay Jacob Wind, director
    Safety And Health Foundation