Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Volunteering at races

How many times have you thanked a volunteered at a water stop, on the race course or at the end of a race?  I know that I can't even begin to count the number of times.  As runners, we come to depend upon these unknown faces during our races. There is our famous Peggy Sue that we all knew and loved.
Shared from the Peggy Sue Facebook wall

The volunteers provide us with support, encouragement, safety and medical (our police/ EMT/Firefighters) along with hydration and fuel always having a touch of smiling gratitude. I know that without race volunteers there have been many times when I felt as though I couldn't continue and a kind word from them has kept me going to the finish line.

I had the opportunity this past Sunday (June 7)  to volunteer at a local race, the EC 5K & 10K in Ellicott City, Maryland.  I know EC and it is a hilly little town with shops, restaurants-quite lovely nestled along the Patuxent River.
Pictures taken from Main Street, EC

I decided to volunteer after receiving several emails from the company,  Rip It Events.  I have done several races with this company locally.  What a great way to give back as a runner after all the races that I've done and had wonderful volunteers giving their time to me!  I also asked on my Facebook page if anyone had volunteered at a race and the feedback that I received was so positive-thank you!

I received my email and saw that I was a course volunteer.  I saw that several friends including moms from my local Moms Run This Town were running the race.  I got up early on Sunday morning (after running the Baltimore 10 miler the day before and working); a bit tired and drove to the race.  I picked up my volunteer shirt and race flag along with receiving my course location.  I then saw my friends; they  looked fantastic as Super Moms!
Super Moms-Deb Strong and Jennifer Caplan Givens
I drove to my location, parked my car and grabbed a cup of coffee while putting on my volunteer shirt.  There was a water stop before the turn and I introduced myself to the other volunteers.  I saw that the turn was a bottom of a hill so I decided to walk up the hill to see where the runners were going on the course.  This part of the race lead to a wonderful trail run and there was a police officer there waiting to assist with traffic.  I found out that he was a runner as well and his daughter was running the race.  Again, a huge THANK YOU to our police who assist in traffic and safety during our races!

The race started at 8:15 am and I saw the first runner about 8:22 am.  WOW..can you say FAST!  I kept cheering the runners up the hill (this was the half-way point if you were doing the 5K).  I saw Deb coming strong  up the hill along with one of my running coaches from 3 years ago, Susie!  I tried to provide as much encouragement for everyone.  I know as a runner what those words mean to you. I also saw Jennifer being very fast as she and Deb were a relay team-Way to go, ladies!  

I have to admit that it was tough to be encouraging with different motivation throughout the race even though I enjoyed it!  I tried to remember some of the words spoken to me during races and I hope that I was able to do that for the runners. There were a lot of thank yous and smiles throughout the race. 

I saw the last two runners about 9:20 am, thanked the officer and walked down the hill.  I thanked my fellow volunteers and the race personnel, handing them my race flag and drove home.  I saw that Deb and Jennifer had won first place in the relay-Congratulations, ladies!  I'm so proud of them and blessed to have them as friends.

I had a fanastic time volunteering at this race.  Would I do it again-in a heartbeat!! I was able to be on the other side of a race and I believe in giving back when the opportunity arises.  I believe that it takes all aspects to be a healthy person; not just physically healthy.   It was a wonderful opportunity to give back to the racing community that has given so much to me.  
Ironically, I saw this article yesterday on Facebook on the Runner's World page, Race volunteers lawsuit against Competitor lawsuit will go forward. I am a bit saddened by this because without volunteers at races, we as runners, would have many consequences.  What are your thoughts about this?  Have you ever volunteered at a race and what was your experience?  

  And remember, my journey continues....If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!


  1. I always thank the volunteers! Of course when I'm at a race it makes me want to run it but at the same time I'm happy to give back. It's good karma :)

    Now I'm off to see what the lawsuit is about.

    1. It is good karma and I loved having the ability to give back. I always thank the volunteers as well. :)

  2. I am always impressed by the volunteers, and always make a point to thank them. I'm volunteering at a race this weekend!

  3. I love volunteering! I volunteered for Girls on the Run last month, and it was the first time in a very long time I had volunteered. Now I see why people turn out with signs; it's so fun!

    1. Thanks for volunteering; I love GOTR! :) Yes, it is a lot of fun.


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