I headed up to NYC this past weekend to give a little back to the sport that gives me so much. I signed up to volunteer at the 22 mile water stop for the NYC Marathon with a bunch of my Oiselle teammates. After a fun Saturday in Hoboken visiting my brother and his fiancée, I was up bright and early Sunday morning to make my way into the city.
As usual, I had a bit of trouble figuring out the Subway system, but was able to take a fairly quick cab ride to my volunteer spot. I checked in, got a poncho and plastic gloves and met up with the other Oiselle ladies volunteering there. Most of them I only knew through twitter, so it was very fun to meet them in person, and not surprisingly they were all awesome.
We got a quick orientation from the volunteer leader. It’s amazing the things you don’t realize that go into race day. He went over set up and what to expect once things got rolling. Safety was the emphasis. He pointed out the closest medical tent, then talked about how to form a safety circle around a runner if someone were to drop, and asked anyone who was CPR certified to raise their hands. After thanking us all, we were off to work.
I helped fill up water cups and stack them three rows high across the table to get ready for the onslaught of runners. After that, I enjoyed my front row seat to one incredibly cool marathon experience. The Marine Corps Marathon, which boasts finishers in the low 20,000s each year has always seemed HUGE to me. On Sunday, more than 50,000 runners set out to take on the five boroughs of NYC. Wow.
The wheelchair and handcycle divisions came through first. I don’t usually see most of these racers after they take off, but wow they are impressive. Soon the elite women were making their way through mile 22. It was so cool to see the pace trucks coming and know the first runners were right behind them.
These women were amazingly fierce and fast. It was so cool to see. I still can’t believe Priscah Jeptoo came away with the win – what a finish!
Also, I want her abs!
Not long after, another pace truck was coming through and we saw the elite men. Getting to see Geoffrey Mutai fly by up close on his way to his second straight NYCM victory was awesome. I couldn’t wait to see Meb come by, but of course had just put my camera away when he did, so I don’t have a shot of him. I know he didn’t have the race he wanted, but it was still so cool to see him and he is such an inspiration!
Soon the everyday runners started pouring through and just kept coming and coming. There were so many volunteers and I was near the back, so I didn’t actually hand out that many cups of water.
Still getting to cheer these runners on and see the determination and pain in their faces (or limps) as they passed us with four miles to go made for a great day. I yelled out for the runners who had names written on their shirts, cheered like crazy for random strangers and tried to pick people I knew running out of the crowd. So. Much. Fun.
Congrats to everyone who raced NYCM Sunday! You are all amazing!