When I started this blog almost two years ago, I struggled to find a name for it that would encapsulate my view about running (at that time). Running was reaching me in a way nothing else had, and I wanted others to experience that. Still do.
My husband brought up the point that every person does not have the ability to run. I agreed with him, but “there’s a way to be involved in running whether you are running, walking, being supportive, encouraging, or volunteering.
Most of the time I take on the role of runner, but this past Saturday I became a volunteer for a trail race.
I’ve written a post or two about it, but I have been wanting to help give back to the sport. A member of the local running group is the race director for a trail race and solicited volunteers. There was an open time slot from 12-4, so I could still get my Saturday long run in. My 16 year old son loves to help out (and will do anything for a free t-shirt and food) so he went along with me. I planned on posting pictures of the trail, the aid station, and my son at the race, but there was no signal on my phone and the camera wouldn’t work. Boo.
The race was a 12k and 50k out on a hiking trail at Lake Texoma. It was about a 35 minute drive from our home. When we got there, all the 12k runners had finished. My runner friend was the first female finisher! I was so proud of her for that. My son and I were to be working the last aid station along the course. It was pouring rain when we got there. What a muddy mess! Six runners out of 32 had passed through already. My job was to check off the numbers on the list as they came through and keep the food stocked whick kind of made me nervous. The list is a big responsibility.
The variety of foods on the table was interesting. As a marathon runner, the most solid thing I’ve eaten while running was an orange slice. This table had peanut butter sandwiches, grapes, bananas, oranges, pickles, and Coke. There were also electrolyte tablets and salt. We actually ran out of Coke because most of the runners coming through wanted some. The runners would stop and chat for a few minutes while eating, and then move along. Most of them were in good spirits, taking the weather for what it was. One needed the mileage, another time on her feet, and others were having a good time together pulling each other up the muddy slopes. They were all grateful for the aid station and appreciative. I was impressed with their spirit.
My son and I were happy to be there helping. He even showed some interest when the race director told him about a five mile race (along with other distances) in February. He used to run some with me at a local park with a trail. He enjoys the focus and challenge on the trail.
I was glad to be able to give back to the running community. I have never had such appreciation for volunteers as I did at my first marathon. In the cold. In the rain. It was nasty, and they were out there for me and others like me.
So even if you can’t physically run, don’t let that discourage you. You can still be a part of running. Runners need volunteers. They make races possible.