Since I didn’t actually run my first race of the year, I thought I would write about my first “Volunteer” race of the year.
Yesterday was a cold morning in Halifax as it was around -14 c and the windchill around -23c. Brrr!
I volunteered through Maritime Race Weekend and was part of their pirate crew…ARRRRRRRR! I was at “Water station A” which would be the turn around point for runners (almost 7km into the run). Originally, they were supposed to run past us another 3k or so and then turn around. That didn’t happen because of the trail conditions.
We met around 7:45 am and started to chat; we did not know each other. After a little time had passed and we were still trying to figure out each other’s name, I said “Anyone wanna do a name game?” The Outdoor Recreation Specialist in me came out 😉 They said yes! Eeekkk!
So, I proceeded to explain the game and was asked if I was a teacher? No, not a teacher but I explained that I worked in the Outdoor Recreation field for a long time.”Ahhhh, that makes sense”! Within a few minutes of starting this game we were all laughing pretty hard and ended up playing for about 15-20 minutes or so!
Then we pulled in the photographer to play with us and after a few more rounds of the “hand slap name game” we realised that we needed to get the water/Gatorade ready. Time to focus on the task!
I ended up grabbing a garbage bag and went out a little further to collect any cups the were on the ground however, most runners stopped or slowed down to put it in my garbage bag. Gosh, those Haligonians are so caring 🙂
Even though the air was cold the wind was minimal and the sun was BEAMING down on us. It was a great day to volunteer. Actually, with the conditions of the trail, it was a better day to volunteer then to run.
Around 9:45 we wrapped up our water stations and I headed into the start area, about a 5 minute drive away. I waited for my running buddy Krystol to finish and she did great!
I was a little in shock at how many injuries I was seeing: two people being walked out with aides; blood on someones face, heard about a broken arm; saw a knee injured runner. I kinda felt ill and thankful that I didn’t run it. The amount of injuries and the condition of the trail was absolutely concerning. This is the first year they held this run on this specific trail.
Volunteering was great and super easy especially when I registered last minute to volunteer. It was well-organized and fun. The only thing we didn’t have at our water station (that I saw) was any sort of first aid materials.
The runners got a neck warmer and running gloves – really nice stuff! There was also a free warm meal afterwards for runners and volunteers – about a 15 minute drive away in traffic. It was yummy and WARM!
As a runner, I try hard to thank volunteers as I run past them and ALWAYS the race director too. I was amazed at how many runners said “thank you”. Really, all I was doing was picking up cups and encouraging them as they ran by me. At times I didn’t really feel like I was doing much. Again, as a runner, I always appreciate their time and energy.
Overall, I had a lot of fun volunteering, met some great people and got to see a few friends finish their race!
Ever concerned with the conditions during a race?
Do you volunteer for races/events often or never?
Ever give race directors constructive criticism?