When they announced that they will be organizing a half marathon in our town and were looking for help, I jumped on it. I was able to attend most of the meetings and gather some of the gift cards for the prize table that we had for the people who placed in their age group. Thank you to my friends who donated!
Knowing the race was going to be well run and on a beautiful course that I am more than familiar with, I had to decide if I wanted to run it or just help and volunteer that morning. I really went back and fourth with this because I really did want to run it. However, once I finished my sixteenth race of the year and fourth half marathon, five if you include the HIM, I just decided that I didn't need another race. I was good.
I was assigned water stop B. This was a stop on both sides of the street that ends up being mile four and mile 10.
The race had an 11 o'clock start and I had to check in by ten. I was early, so I helped point runners in the right direction to check in. It was nice that we were able to do this in the hotel and there was plenty of room for everyone to stay in there to keep warm. The weather was not good. So cold, rain and wind.
Once more volunteers showed up, I had one help me load my truck and we took the supplies to our water stop to start the set up. Man it was cold. The wind was blowing cups all over the place. My gloves got wet and my hands started to freeze. I was really mad that I didn't bring my warmer gloves.
One of the volunteers at my stop, had a pop-up tent in her car. With a little help, we got it up and found large rocks to hold it in place. It was so nice to stand under it and wait. Especially, when it started to rain and snow at the same time.
|Under the tent and smiling.|
Once we saw the first runner, and ultimately the winner of the race, the fun started! I loved seeing everyone run by and cheer them on. This was not a good running day. People had to really dig deep to keep moving forward. The last runner was basically a walker, and once she passed mile four, the lead runners were hitting mile ten. Some of them at this point, had pained looks on their faces. This is tough under normal conditions, here they were battling wind, cold, rain and snow. I was inspired by each and every one of them. I was also amazed by my fellow volunteers. No complaints, we just did what we had to do and it was a wonderful experience.
One of the highlights, I have to admit, was when the race director arrived with hot chocolate for all of us. Man, that really hit the spot!
People started cleaning up as we were nearing the end. We had people driving the course and was told just about twenty more runners to go. I actually started counting as they passed by. I was also so happy to see that most of them still had smiles on their faces. I am not so sure I would have.
I think for the most part, we are a tough and crazy bunch of people. My thoughts went to my friends running NYC. They also dealt with cold, rain and wind but for 26.2 miles. They all had fantastic races!
Once the final runner passed us, we hopped in our warm cars and heading back to the hotel for a pasta lunch. I was so happy to feel the heat. I was pleasantly surprised that the food was still hot. I ate a little and watch the end of the awards ceremony. I was able to chat with a few friends and then couldn't stand my wet clothes anymore. I headed home for a hot shower and my fire place.
There's no place like home...
For a first year race, this was a huge success. There were over 600 people registered and 486 that showed up, braved the elements and finished. I have been smiling from ear to ear reading all the great comments on the Gansett Half FB page. I am sure this will just get better and better every year.
I hope I can be involved with this race again next year. I may even run it.
Did you run Gansett today? Have you ever volunteered? You should!
Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole