Volunteering Review

April 12, 2009 § 2 Comments

In true runner’s form, here’s my “race” report:

Last December I hurt my post-tibial tendon in both feet due to an improper shoe fit (local running store said I was neutral.. I am NOT). I had just registered for a half & was in the local running club‘s half-marathon training program. Long story short, I’m just getting back into running again with two happy tendons and only $85 out on this race. I decided to make the most of it since this is the inaugural event: marathon, half-marathon, 5K, and youth run. I signed up to be on the other side of the race: volunteering.

Friday night I worked packet pick-up for what would have been my event (“Yes, it’s weird.. we don’t actually need the chips back..” “Yes, I’m sure” “No, you will not be charged $30”) & yesterday I did volunteer check-in which ended up being a lot more than that. Let’s just say those awesome finishing area chutes look cool because of me (and my muddied sweatshirt.. silly barricades). I am incredibly sore today. I don’t think I’m built for lifting boxes and large wood beams.

It was really neat being on the other side. I’m so exhausted (worked 5-9:15pm last night and 5:30-10am today; we live 45 minutes away so it was a short sleep) – I feel like I ran something myself. I’ve only done one race before (newbie!), but because I had planned on running it, read a running magazine, and stalk the Runner’s World forums I was able to answer a lot more questions than other volunteers. I would have expected that more volunteers were runners, but that was not the case (though one younger volunteer – jr high to high school maybe? decided in the middle of her shift to join in the 5K as it ran past her; she had a shiny participation medal and a big smile on her face to show for it).

The experience was exactly what I would have expected and yet nothing like it as well. It’s easy to overlook the preparation involved in pulling off an event of this size (9000+ runners & all their supporters). It was great for the local community. The University and two cities were actively involved & area businesses were very busy. I would compare hotel occupancy to that of Homecoming or graduation weekend. 

At the Illinois Marathon $85 (registration+program) & some hard work gets you a year’s membership to the running club, a nice lavender technical shirt, a bright orange volunteer shirt, a navy blue technical shirt, a $5 coupon for groceries, free loaf of Great Harvest bread, Italian ice when the freezer needs to be unplugged, your very own chip, bib #, enough pamphlet material to fuel a fire for a couple hours, and a few extra friendly faces to try to place the next time you buy groceries.

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