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Gift of Life Marathon goes for the record - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Gift of Life Marathon goes for the record

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RUTLAND, Vt. -

"Last year we clearly had way more people than we had the staff to manage it," said Steve Costello of the Gift of Life Marathon. "So we have a lot more staff this year. We added a fourth site to spread people out over the duration of the event and so far it's worked really well."

From the Paramount to the Elks Club and other locations, 100 additional staff and volunteers work to reduce wait times and cut short the long lines of years past.

"We had people last year three, four, five. We had a couple people who waited six hours last year. And we're thrilled that isn't happening this year," Costello said.

"It's definitely gotten faster. I came here it was like 10 minutes we were already in here," donor Jim Mailhiot said. "(Last year) we had, I think, a two and a half hour wait. So, there's a big difference from this year to last year."

"Well, I've only been here about a half an hour or so. They seem to be very efficient," donor Diane Barclay said.

Costello says breaking the record will come down to the walk-ins. In total 1,800 people made appointments, but not everyone will qualify to donate. So, he estimates they'll need about 500 walk-ins to make the dream of breaking the record of 1968 pints come true.

"We're still hopeful we'll get a lot of walk-ins in the end. So, that might add to the wait a little bit," Costello said.

Of course, Costello also hopes the new law that took effect this year allowing 16-year-olds to donate with parents' permission will push that total over the top.

"We worked really closely with the high schools and we got 40-50 kids from each of the high schools in the area pretty much," Costello said.

But whether they crack the record, or fall short, Costello says in the end it's about the effort, not the outcome.

"I really think it would be great if we break the record, but I'm not going to be terribly disappointed," he said. "We're going to have done something really phenomenal here no matter what; win, lose or draw."

But many people I spoke with are confident that national title will belong to Rutland for years to come.

Walk-ins will be donating through about 7:30 p.m.

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