So one of the new year's resolutions I've been carrying forward for years has been to volunteer more...and...well, I was a bit of an epic failure on this front, I fully admit. This year however, I vowed to volunteer, specifically at races. Last year when I had my little episode at the Goodlife Victoria Half and passed out unceremoniously at the 20K mark, so many of the other runners, volunteers and spectators were so incredibly kind and good to me...I just felt compelled to give back this year. I admit though...I was a bit of a procrastinator and hadn't signed up until Boston hit. Truly rocked to the core by what had happened there (it wasn't Boston and it wasn't the marathon...it was two men who had somewhere gone wrong in life is how I'm choosing to look at what happened), I plopped myself in front of the computer and signed up to volunteer for the Times Colonist 10K. Now initially when I was thinking about volunteering, I was looking at stuff like the food tents or course marshalling, but those positions were all taken and all that was left were shifts at the finish line. Everything always happens for a reason, folks...because I had one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had in my life, bar none.
The day started early, early...the shift was 6am to 1pm, so I was up at 4:45am on a Sunday....yes folks...it was an absolute bitch getting up. Ha! As I parked the car and walked down to the finish line to meet up with the rest of the crew, I thought about how cool it was to see the other side of what it takes to put on a race. It was pretty quiet and only volunteers and organizers were around, but in a few short hours, 11,000 runners and their families and various spectators would line the streets to take part in this awesome community event. So amazing.
The other thing that was cool was that I met some pretty great people who were also volunteering...a group of five of us seemed to really hit it off and we rolled up our sleeves and got to work. We seemed to finish things pretty quickly and somehow the group of us ended up being right at the front of the finisher's chute...I was pretty excited about this as I've always thought that being in that area and being one of the first faces that people see when they finish would be pretty neat.
yay, finish line duty!
waiting for the the hordes to arrive...
After the race started, in a blink of an eye the elites came in and next thing you know the hordes started pouring in. Now 11,000 people going through a finisher's chute that was not that wide was going to be problematic so I had to summon my public speaking skills and really project as I cheered my face off and directed them to keep moving. Now this would have been all fine and good...but as we all know....sometimes unfortunate things happen at races.
meet my friend, mr. can...
After all the runners came in, we had mere seconds before we had to get started on the 1.5K kids race...now that was fabulous! Seriously...nothing makes me happier than to see kids being active and hopefully these kids will be influenced to live a healthy, active lifestyle in the future. As the stream of little chilluns came running through, the look on their little faces and how happy they were to get their finisher's ribbon was pretty amazing. I got high fives from kids, I got big smiles...so awesome.
spidey high fiving all the kiddies!
So all in all...it was a fabulous, fabulous day. I loved, loved, loved volunteering today and especially loved working at the finish line. It was so rewarding to be there to see those people cross the finish line that they've worked months for...all shapes and sizes, all age ranges...people were so freaking happy and I felt a bit of that racing itch come back. Seeing their accomplishment and being there to witness all of it was the best part of today...people had tears in their eyes, they were hugging and high fiving each other and us...it was truly one of the best experiences I've ever had. Oh...and there was a very moving moment of silence for Boston and I saw lots of blue and yellow shirts in support for all the victims and their families. The running community rocks.
Sooooo...when's the next race? Grin.