I love races. They’re what all the hard work and training are for. Volunteers are such an awesome part of races and I’m always sure to thank them no matter how tired I am. I decided I should probably give back after all the races I’ve done and over the last few years I’ve been trying to do a better job of volunteering at as many races as I run.
Turns out, volunteering at races is a ton of fun too. It’s great to see everyone out there going for PRs or just trying to finish. Other than a few bad apples who get really upset if you can’t give them a different size t-shirt than what they ordered, everyone is so incredibly nice and appreciative.
I’ve spent my last two Fridays volunteering at Pacers Crystal City 5k Fridays. I love these races, but since they didn’t fit into my race schedule this year I figured this was a good way to still be a part of them. My first volunteer shift was at the water stop. This might not seem like a big deal, but it’s actually something I’ve been terrified of doing. I’ve volunteered at a lot of races and I’ve always avoided doing this. Ridiculous, I know.
Still, I was worried I’d mess the hand offs up and leaving a runner without any water. I had no idea what to wear on my feet – flip flops in case I got splashed a lot or sneakers in case my toes got stepped on?? Admittedly I probably put too much thought into this for a 5k race where most of the runners don’t even take water anyways. It turned out to be pretty easy. I just held the cups out there and let the runners take them out of my hands. I didn’t even get splashed. Who knew?! I really enjoyed getting to interact with the racers mid-race and encourage them to keep going.
Last Friday I was back to packet pickup and pretty thankful for that since the skies opened up into a thunder and lightning storm shortly after the start and we had set up shop inside. As I mentioned in my last post it was also really great to be around so many supportive runners while everyone was still reeling from Boston.
I’m so glad I’ve found out how much fun it can be to participate in races in other ways than running over these last couple years…just gives me more of a chance to be part of this great community.
What races have you volunteered for? Have you done a water stop…and am I the only one who had an irrational fear about working at one?!