Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Why volunteering can help you become more motivated to race

So, last week I was on Facebook and noticed that Emerald City Half Marathon needed volunteers.

Known as a flat and fast race with high temperatures, I loved running this race. In fact, it was my very first road race in 2011. Some say it's hot, but the temps are better than the 28 degrees we had with the Richmond Half in 2014. Too cold!
My first road race with Ava + Sophie 2011
I had planned on running the half, but life and kiddos + me being sick for the month of July (I kid you not) totally derailed my plans. However, I read that you got a free race entry and since I would rather buy running clothes than pay for race fees, I decided to give it a shot.

I signed up and emailed Ellen who suggested doing the medal station. So, I sent an email to the M3S volunteer email. They were awesome and sent back a reply within 30 minutes!

On race day I woke up at 5 am (6 am volunteer check-in time) and got ready and then headed over to the race. The Emerald City Half was right in my city and I was going the opposite way of traffic so I had no problems getting to the start.

Even at 6:10 am, there were so many people arriving for the 7 am start! I was floored since I usually arrive just in time. I think I may try to show up earlier for the pre-race vibe!: )

Emerald City Medal station
I checked in with the volunteer tent, got my t-shirt and walked over to the medal station. At the medal station, I met the sweetest lady, Alyssia?, and we unwrapped medals and arranged them on the tables for the next hour. Before volunteering, I was a little nervous because I did not know anyone. But, everyone was so nice and fun to chat with. The local running community is awesome!

As the race began and runners moved up to the start and through the pace groups, we cheered for the runners. There were so many (4,000) and there were so many fit runners! Maybe just because it was hot, but it really motivated me!

75 degrees and pre-race photo 

Waiting for the last participants to cross the line. We cheered for the very last racer, which I have to say showed me that just getting out there and doing your best is awesome! 

The racers above were the RWB racers who ran up and back the course numerous times supporting civilians and veterans involved in race.

The day heated up as the winner of the quarter finished (a woman!) and then the rest of the quarter runners started arriving back. We lined up with the medals on our arms and handed them out to finishers. We got to give a sweet little runner who was only six-years-old a medal.

The great thing was that there were so many volunteers we were jokingly fighting to give them away. One of my favorite things was giving medals to my friends who were crossing the finish line!

Racers arrived and then the bell curve of most racers finishing the quarter and the fast half marathoners arriving started. We were there for the fastest and the last--the balloon group who rounds up the last walkers of the race.

At the end there was maybe a 45-minute window where we were talking and laughing at the finish for the last participants with the other volunteers (some of the Columbus MRTTers). We moved up to the front with water and medals and cheered for the racers.

All in all, I had so much fun and met so many awesome runners. And the race crew from M3S were helpful, fun and very inclusive. I def. recommend volunteering at your next local race. You get bagels, bananas and a great t-shirt!: )

I plan to run the Ohio State Four-Miler with the race code.

So get out there and volunteer at your next local race!

I def. feel the itch to run and race now that I watched so many awesome runners crush their goals in very hot temperatures.

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