Sunday, April 7, 2013

It's Awesome to Be a Volunteer!

First I want to tell you about my training week.

Sixteen miles! All of my runs were great, especially my long run on Thursday.  I ran well, and picked it up at the end and hit a 9:41 mile.  I am pretty sure this is my fastest mile to date.  Can't say for sure as I have only started running with a Garmin, but whatever, I will take it.

I did get some stretching and strengthening in, but not much.  I need to get my bike out on the road now that the weather is warming up.

Now, the Jamestown Bridge 10k was today.  This is the race I singed up for last year and was not able to run because of my back.  My first, and hopefully, my only, DNS.  This race looks fun but hard as you go over the bridge twice which means up a big hill twice.

It is put on my TRIMOM Productions who are the same people who operate the Ocean's Run, my favorite race.  I thought it would be fun to be on the other side and volunteer instead of run. I really went back and forth with this because I really wanted to run this race.  In the end I chose to volunteer and I am completely happy with that decision.

I had a choice of positions to choose from when I went onto their site to sign up.  When I saw that no one had signed up for the last chance water stop, I jumped on it.

My first half marathon was the Ocean's Run in 2012.  When I hit the last water stop at mile 12, I had gotten teary and when the women handed me my cup of water, I couldn't even speak the words, Thank You.  She just smiled and said that I was doing great.  I could tell she knew how I felt and I was so grateful for her smile and kind words.  I wanted to do the same for someone else. Volunteering is a great way to give back to a community of runners who have been there for me.

I checked in a little before 8, and then headed to my spot.  I was the first one there so I just got to work. I put up the tables and then started filling the cups.  After about 5 minutes a man drove up and asked if I wanted help.  He was one of the flaggers but had some time before having to go to his spot.  I was happy to have the help but really happy to have the company.
My table!

Soon after that, kids got dropped off to help.  This stop was mostly manned by kids and their excitement was intoxicating.  Shortly after that, a van pulled up with more kids with bunny ears and the van played music.  It was awesome!  The mom driving that van was another flagger who was just going to be down the road a bit.  It turned out that she was my sons Spanish teacher and it was really cool to meet her.

The race started at 9 and the first runner came by at 9:18, he was flying!

The kids did a great job of handing out water and gels.  They cracked me up because they actually fought over who was going to be the "gel guy" and who would be the "water guy".  Kids are the same everywhere.  They want what the other has no matter what it is. Funny!
Me in front of the water table.

As I was waiting for my friends to start passing by, I saw my neighbor and handed him some water.  I said, "Hi, John!", and I think he was surprised to hear his name.

The first of my friends to pass was Jenn.  She looked great and was running at a pretty good pace.

After a few more runners, I heard,  "I'm coming to you Lady" and I looked up and saw Elaine heading towards me.  She was smiling and I could tell she was having a really good time.  She looked fabulous and at that moment, I really wanted to be running.

Shortly after that, I saw Beth and again, I really wanted to take off and run with her.  I didn't of course, and I was really having a good time handing out water and gels and cheering everyone on.

It stayed steady with runners for awhile.  I saw some great skirts and fun tutu's.  It started to slow down a bit at 9:45.  About 9:55 a cop showed up and said that everyone had to be past us at 10 or he would have to give them a lift back to the finish.  The reason for this was that the bridge was closed and scheduled to open at a certain time.

I got really nervous when he showed up because I really wanted everyone to make it.  Sadly, that was not the case.

The first two were a father and daughter who really were surprised that they were told that they would not finish.  My watch said 10:01, the cops watch said 10:02 and the fathers watch said 9:58.  Who was right, I really don't know but I was really hoping the cop would say just go on. He didn't.  He did what he was supposed to do and I can't complain about that.  My heart just broke for them though.

The third and last guy, came a few minutes later.  This guy looked like a linebacker!  And honestly, he looked great but he was not going to get to finish.  You could tell he was sad about that and he immediately called his wife.  I just wanted to hug him but when he was done with his call, he went right into the car to head to the finish.

We cleaned up the cups and tables and headed home.  Done, that was it.

Once I got on the bridge to go home, I saw that there were still runners and walkers heading to the finish.  My heart sank for the last 3 who had to pass them as they were being escorted to the finish.  All I can say to you is this - You did a great job and to keep it up!  You will get there!

All in all, it was a wonderful experience.  I loved meeting new people and seeing my friends run past.  I was thrilled to be able to cheer them on and all the runners who were out there.  We got so many thank you's from the runners and that just made me smile.  I hope that some found encouragement from our cheers.  TRIMOM does a fantastic job organizing races and this is one happy volunteer and runner.

I will definitely volunteer again and I highly recommend it to all of you.

Have you ever volunteered?  How did you like it?

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole


  1. Awesome! I have never volunteered but really want to! It sounds like so much fun. And, it would be great to cheer people on, knowing exactly how they are feeling:)

    1. It really was fun and you should do it! As a runner you can appreciate what happens behind the scenes and it really was fun.

  2. I was so looking forward to seeing your familiar face. There was A LOT Of energy at that water stop! It was intoxicating, nearly enough intoxication to get up the 3rd and final hill to the finish. I should have dug deeper for that kid power. Thank you for volunteering. It is an awesome experience!

    1. So happy you had a good race. I really look forward to running this one next year.