Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend. Did anyone get tricked with any good April Fools jokes? Do share! I am always on the lookout because my sister usually gets me. Speaking of which, today is her birthday! Happy Birthday Christy!
it is also the lovely Kelly Olexa’s birthday. be sure to go wish her a good one! Kelly You rock thanks for putting together the amazing company that is FitFluential!
So Saturday Bobby and I volunteered a the sprint triathlon in our neighborhood. Last year, we were spectators. This year, we were mighty volunteers!
Bobby agreed to be a kayaker, and I agreed to be placed somewhere on the run course. Little did I know, that the dynamic running skirts duo of me and Gina would make for a crazy and hilarious day!
We got to the course at 6:30 am, and Gina and I volunteered to work the water stop on the run course together. Since we had to go fill up cups, we sadly missed the swim start of the race. Burt here are some pictures I took before we headed to our station.
Getting ready to start the swim
We had enough time to watch Bobby hit the lake in his borrowed kayak. I told him good luck and to not let anyone drown.
oh…and don’t hit anyone in the head with your kayak…
We made it out to our water stop and started filling cups. We had plenty of time until the first runner came by, so we (Gina really) made sure our table was well stocked and efficient.
Did I add we had to fill cups from a GIANT jug of very heavy water?
I was quite proud of our water stop.
We went and stood in the median so we could cheer for the bikers as they came by. Where we were stationed, we got to see them going and coming back in.
We yelled, screamed, and cheered our little hearts out. We even got some thank you’s from the bikers (mostly women, which we found interesting).
About 20-30 minutes later, the first runner came through. Just like the bikers, the runners came down a dirt road behind our water stop, ran past us, then came back by us straight down the road, so we had to get them both ways. For the first few minutes, we were ok, since it was just people coming form one way. But, soon enough, things got CRAZY when people were coming from both directions. We tried to each get people from one particular direction, but then there was no one to fill cups. Luckily, about this time, Bobby called and asked where we were and he came to help. This was a MAJOR life saver. He filled cups while we handed out Powerade and water. There is no way we would have managed on our own had he not shown up when he did. Oh, and Gina somehow managed to take a Powerade bath. She had it all over her clothes and her face. Luckily, I came out pretty much unscathed.
We had a good system, and I enjoyed cheering for the runners as I gave them the liquids they needed. The ones towards the back were the most fun, they would walk and talk to us, crack jokes, it was great. We got some more thank yous, which was awesome, and the time flew by. Soon enough, it was time to clean up and head to the finish line.
We had a ton of paper cups to pick up from both directions, but I totally didn’t mind one bit. I have thrown many a paper cup on the ground and am so grateful for the volunteers that pick them up for me. It was my turn to help out and I gladly did it.
We hopped on the golf cart and headed to the finish for some food and to watch the awards. We swung by the house and picked up the dogs so they could enjoy the sunshine and all the people wanting to pet them, of course.
With almost 300 participants, the race was a huge success, and I had a blast volunteering. It was nice to see “the other side” and it totally makes you more appreciative! We were out there for almost 6 hours. It really takes up a lot of your Saturday and is a big commitment so a THANK YOU to everyone who has ever volunteered for a race! Here are a few tips and words of advice I gleaned from my experience:
1.) Do what you are asked to do. Gina and I planned to watch the swim start before heading to our station. I knew we would have plenty of time to fill cups before the first runner came through. However, right before the start of the race, two of the people putting it on asked us to go ahead and go to the water stop. My inclination was to say “but we REALLY want to watch the swim start and we have plenty of time” (which we did, we stood around out there for 30 minutes before a runner came though) BUT, I didn’t. I smiled and said “ok” and we headed to our station. I had to remember I was not here for me, but to do whatever they needed me to do, no questions asked.
2.) Know what you are getting into. Bobby volunteered to kayak, and I am so glad I didn’t. While he was in the water waiting for the race to start, a snake started swimming right at his kayak!! he wacked it with his paddle a few times and chased it off the swim course before the race started. I think I would have died. seriously. (And you wonder why I don’t open water swim. ack!!!)
3. Be prepared to scream till your throat hurts. Gina and I did a lot of yelling. At the bikers, at the runners, we talked and yelled, cheered and jumped up and down. It was great fun but not for the anti social. Be prepared to scream your guts out. Also, be cheerful and helpful. And smile.
4.) Know the course, and basic race information. The runners were running out one road and back down another, and the arrow was ttiinnyyy and a lot of people missed it, so we had to yell for them to keep running straight. Had we not known the course we could have had people running the wrong way. That would have been a disaster. I had a guy ask me a question about the swim which I didn’t know the answer too, so I found out, then found the guy and told him.
5.) Wear sunscreen, and stay hydrated. Luckily, we were stationed at a water stop, so the hydration wasn’t an issue. But it was very warm and sunny, so it is important to take care of yourself as you are out on the course. No one wants a volunteer passing out on race day!
Volunteering was a really good experience. This was my second race to volunteer at, but my first triathlon. I highly recommend volunteering, especially if you are a runner yourself. It really makes you appreciate the volunteers more after being one. I usually try to say thank you to the volunteers as much as I can remember (and when I am not dying in the middle of a race) but now I will try to do it much more often. It REALLY made a difference and made me feel good when I got a simple “thank you for volunteering” from a participant. It definitely gave me warm fuzzies and made me love this great community of athletes I am a part of even more.
QOTD: Do you thank the volunteers at races?
Don’t forget to enter my zero water giveaway at the bottom of this post.