The Only Thing to Fear Is….The Sweep Van

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The Only Thing to Fear Is….The Sweep Van

I have completed a handful of half marathons and (shockingly) 2 marathons.  Nothing has been fast or elegant.  I have had a blast in the heat, the rain, with strangers and with my dear friends.  This weekend takes me the farthest I have traveled yet for a race, all the way from central Florida to Anaheim, CA.  I am looking forward to new sites, making new friends, collecting a few new medals and knowing me, losing a toenail or two.  Unfortunately, I have a horrible fear clouding all of the anticipation.   I am afraid I am going to get swept.

There it is.  I said it.  I am scared of the sweep van.

The Only Thing to Fear Is….The Sweep Van

Before you roll your eyes like my husband, or tell me I am overreacting, let me explain.  Between a crazy work schedule, a bad knee, and my own limited training, I feel less ready for this race than I have any race in a long time.  With that said, it is hard not to think about the possibility of being swept.  Yes, the sweep vans are real.  Very real.  And as I write that, I feel compelled to remind myself and whoever else may be reading this that although they are real, they are not the enemy.

Sweep vans (or buses in some cases) have taken hurt runners to the safety of the medical tent.  They have allowed exhausted people the chance to walk into an air conditioned vehicle instead of lying down on the side of the road.  These same sweep vans have carried more than one of my loved ones to the finish line when heat, blisters, and pain have forced them to end their race sooner than they had hoped.

I re-read this and now want to say thank you.  Thank you to the drivers for being out there and thank you to the planners who know we often bite off more than we can chew.  I still don’t want to be swept but really, it could be so much worse.

So, what is your biggest fear while running?

The Only Thing to fear is The Sweep van

 (T-Shirt can be found on


Sarah-Irene Donahue

Sid is happily married to Park-Hopper John, living in Orlando, FL, a proud audio/visual geek, power tool junkie and recently converted dog person. She loves to photograph Disney and share her love for it to anyone who will stand still long enough to listen.