Maritime Race Weekend Volunteer Recap

First off, I had a great time volunteering. Second, I was right…I was sad that I couldn’t run my half marathon. I’m getting over it, slowly. More about volunteering……

Maritime Race Weekend has a double race called “Tartan Twosome”. Friday night is 5k for everyone and Saturday can be any distance from 5k – Full Marathon. You can register for just Friday night or just Saturday but most runners do both. It has a cap of 2500 runners and is sold out months in advance. MRW gives out a tone of swag: shirt (your choice of long sleeved, t-shirt or tank), socks and a BUFF! You could also purchase extra items during race kit pick up this year (I got a hat) – you can see the swag here. I volunteered at both events.

Friday Night 5k

I arrived at 5 pm, got my orange pirate crew shirt and bib and headed out to start setting up the medals. About 15 of us, unpacked 2500 medals in 45 minutes. After that we had an hour until the race started so I got to visit with friends and take pictures of people for them.

Angela and I were left to guard all the pirate booty while the other volunteers went to make a human chain to keep runners on the left hand side of the road for the beginning of the race.

These two pirates below were fighting over who was going to get the pirate medals!

MRW 2015 1

I saw lots of friends, made new friends, met people from social media platforms and had a great time. The pirates were handing out the medals Friday night, so we just made sure they had enough on their arms at all times. My friend Sam actually took off her medal when she saw me and wanted me to place one around her neck. I later had this message from her:

“Anna, it was so refreshing to see your face when I came across the finish line. It was such a treat to have you there. Being involved with you and Just live it! Be active! In high school has truly played a big role in my physical activity and health as an adult. You rock! See you at the race next year” 🙂 

I also saw her Saturday and placed the medal around her neck and we both had tears rolling down our cheeks. She has had a hard year and recently started running, completing her second and third race this weekend. She’s very inspiring!

Friday night, we managed to wrap everything up and I was in my car around 8:50! I got back to my parents house around 9:45, kissed the girls good night and finally made it to bed around 11 pm.

Friday 5k medal, met Chantal from IG (top right) for the first time, met up with my old pal, Tracey (bottom left) and Krystol, my running buddy (bottom right).

MRW 2015 2

Saturday (5k, 10k, Half and Full):

Saturday started off at 4:30 when my alarm went off, I was out the door by 5:15 and at the run for 6 am. My husband recently uploaded music to my Ipod and I ended up rocking out to some old school songs …. made the early commute a lot better 🙂

Again, I was able to help set up the medals some with other volunteers. We unpacked 2500 medals for the finishers and another 2500 medals for those who participated in the Tartan Twosome (5k Friday night and whatever distance Saturday). SO MANY MEDALS!

MRW 2015 4

Krystol finishing her half marathon and ALL THE MEDALS!

(The round one opened up and looks like a pocket watch)

I managed to meet a number of people that follow my blog (HEY!) which was awesome. Jessica was standing beside me for a bit and asked if we knew each other. After some conversations back and forth we realised it was from my blog – that was kind of cool. I lost her quickly though and didn’t get a chance to take a picture. That happened with a few other people as well. I’ve followed Jennifer and Nicole online and got to meet both of them after they finished their 5k/first half and 5k/5k, respectively. I didn’t get a photo but it was really great to meet them. Also, met Shannon after her 5k/10k races.

Below: Krystol & I pre 5k race, Heather from Girl Goes Running post 5k race, Tracy & Tracey post half marathon’s (we all went to High School together) and Melissa and I handing out medals.

MRW 2015 6

At the beginning of Saturdays race I was standing in a line with Melissa (whom I met via the TTP running group last year when she hosted a run). I thought I knew her and asked if she organized a run last year, she did for Team In Training. We ended up spending most of the day together handing out medals – we had a lot of fun!

Back to those medals……my goodness they were heavy! Saturday, I was able to hand out the “Tartan Twosome” medals {pirate map} after runners received their finisher medal. This was awesome! I saw so many emotions going on: such joy, excitement, celebration not to mention pain, frustration and those in the zone.

The HARD PART:

For the majority of the time I was in great spirits. Putting medals around strangers necks and getting sweaty hugs was awesome! Seriously, I had people hugging ME…for giving THEM a medal for the race THEY just ran! I had a few laughs with various runners, a few “hey, I know you from your blog/twitter” and a few oh dear that runner doesn’t look well moments and double checked to make sure they were okay.

The heat for the runners was brutal. The half and full course is extremely hilly, mix that with the humidity made for a challenging run for lots.

Enter the tears. I had a few moments of tears as people finished, mainly just feeling sad I wasn’t running my half but quickly dried my eyes as I continue to congratulate runners. Around the 1:55 mark I was starting to get cold but I knew a few friends would be finishing soon so I stayed put. I didn’t want to miss them.

I don’t even know the time but I saw my running buddy, Krystol. I was happy and excited as she crossed the finish line and then she got closer. Her face said it all…not a good race.

As she approached the pirate in which I was standing behind it became more evident of the race I missed. With tears rolling down her face and now mine she collected her first medal and then her second from me. I gave her the biggest hug, both of us crying buckets of tears.

Tears for her hard and challenging race and for me missing out on running that course with her. {Man, I really wanted to run that hilly course}. Also, I really do enjoy running with her and sometimes trailing behind her as she’s able to push through her pace while I sometimes need to slow down. I congratulated her and we talked about her run….part of me felt relief that I didn’t run on my injured foot but part of me just felt bummed out. Shortly there after, I got to put a medal around Tracey’s neck which was great and hear about her run.

I learned a lot while volunteering this past weekend:

  • We have some amazing volunteers/runners in Nova Scotia. They all had a different reason for helping out: it could have been that they were injured (hello!), in between races, or just wanting to volunteer since they ran it in the past.
  • Medals are extremely heavy when packaged together and there was so much plastic involved!
  • Standing on your feet for 3-5 hours is exhausting. Stretching is required.
  • It takes roughly 45 minutes for 15 people to unpack 2500 medals.
  • It takes roughly 1.5-2 hours for 10-15 people to unpack 5000 medals.
  • Don’t mess with a volunteer who WANTS to give THEIR friend their medal. (This was great to watch)
  • Don’t mess with a runner who WANTS their FRIEND to put the medal on their neck. (This was funny to watch)
  • After a runner finishes a race you can simply look at their face to understand how their race when. Good or bad – their face says it all.
  • I miss running long distances and being pain-free. Maybe some day.
  • I still want to run that route even if it’s a training run some day soon.
  • Last but not least: Everyone should volunteer handing out medals at a race as you experience so many emotions from the runners; it’s amazing!

I could write a novel on my experience this weekend but I’ll leave this post for now. Thanks Michelle (Race Director) for allowing me to volunteer handing out medals – this was very rewarding.

Hope you all had a great weekend. 

For those who ran Maritime Race Weekend – hope you had a great time!