Over the past few weeks, I've dedicated some of my free time to giving back to my running community by volunteering. Working on events, I've come across many volunteers and their kindness, generosity and committed are unmatched. They will show up early and leave late. They will go that extra mile. They inspired me to turn the tables and reach out to my community by offering up my time to two inaugural races.
- The Seawheeze lululemon half marathon. Also called Pace Bunnies or Pace Leaders, my duty as a Pace Beaver was to lead my group to reach a goal finish time, as well as keeping everyone motivated.
- I volunteered for Package Pick Up as well as a Sweep at the Meet Your Maker 50 Mile Race. Package Pick Up was great as I got to meet all the racers that came in and see how excited they were about the big day ahead of them. As a Sweep, I volunteered with two other friends to remove all course markings on the course while staying behind the last person racing. This included signage, trail marking tape, and flags. I only did a section of the race but it was a very long (and heavy!) day. It gave me a different perspective of the race though. As we passed through each aid station, we got to experience what a racer would as the volunteers cheered for us and provided us with water and fuel to get us to the next stop. And the amazing thing is that they sat and stood there in the cold and waited until we came through before packing up.
Volunteering is one of those selfless acts that are appreciated by so many and enriches your soul. Every time I've volunteered, and again on those two days, I got more out of it than I gave.
Volunteers touch our lives in many ways; some unbeknownst to us and some at the forefront. Either way, they are the source of many memorable moments in our lives. They're that celebratory smile at the end of a run; they're that friendly touch at the start of your race; they're that encouraging hand at an aid station; they're that boost of energy cheering for you on the sidelines. So, next time, take a moment to thank those that have generously donated their time and think about how you can give back to your community.