The BRRC Grand Prix is OVER!!
The series of 8 races wrapped up last weekend with what I think was originally supposed to be a cross country 5 mile race, but which ended up being a 3 miler. The distance didn’t matter to me because I was not running it. Instead I woke up at 6am on Sunday full of excitement for my first experience as a race volunteer!
I was just about as dramatic about it as this although not in a bad way.
As part of the GPS all the participants are required to volunteer for one race in order to be eligible for an award at the end of the year. Race series or not I’ve been itching to volunteer for something and this presented the perfect opportunity. Race volunteers are some of the best people on the planet and quite a few of them have gotten me through some really hard times. Hopefully I would be able to make someone else’s race easier in some way too.
The first thing I noticed when my alarm went off was the sound of the wind outside. I’m sure a lot of you were geeking out over the NYC Marathon like I was and I’m sure you heard things about the wind up there. It was a similar situation here. The wind was howling through the trees behind my house and blowing my little car all over the road as I set out on the 40 minute drive to the race location. And it was pretty “cold” out too with temps in the 40’s.
I use the term “cold” loosely now after running last winter; 40 degrees is positively balmy compared to what I’ll be running in a couple months from now.
I stopped to pick up a coffee as large as my head, hoping it would keep me warm as well as wake me up.
As you can see I’m not kidding…it was like a liter of coffee.
As soon as I arrived I jumped right to work, helping a friendly guy who was already there with getting people registered. The RD and other volunteers were out marking the course which was a one mile loop that runners would lap three times. I’ve already established my dislike of cross country, but I was almost convinced that I should run the race myself. I had shoes in the car and I would have been a lot warmer had I been moving around more. In the end I decided to just stay cold and that was okay; I was having fun talking to people and trying to keep the money from blowing out of the cash box. After about 10 minutes my liter of hot coffee was more like an iced coffee.
At promptly 8am the runners started off. Other volunteers including another club member’s helpful gang of 4 young children got the water stop set up and I spread out all the post-race goodies that the awesome RD had brought for everyone: bagels, cream cheese, donuts, pretzels, and of course no post-Halloween race would be complete without candy. Someone even made homemade pumpkin bread. A little less than 7 minutes later, the leaders finished up their first lap and I realized how hard this course had to be and would hear all about the hills later after everyone was done. I passed some time cheering and clapping as well as I could through my gloves and jumping up and down which helped me stay warm. At one point a huge gust of wind came through and knocked over the clock. For a second I thought the whole race was screwed, but luckily these people know a lot more about how to time a race than I do and had backup timers. After that we wisely left the clock on the ground.
It was really cool to stand at the finish and watch as everyone completed their races. Afterward a lot of people stuck around to chat and eat despite the uncomfortable weather and the fact that the bagels were blown clear off the table by another huge blast of wind. People were coming up and thanking me. I was just so happy to be there helping…they didn’t need to thank me for anything, but still it made me feel awesome.
Because the race had been pretty small and there were so many helpful folks there, clean up was a breeze (haha wind puns). I was warming back up in my car by 10am. Total whirlwind (hahahahaha sorry) of a morning, but so much fun and definitely an experience I hope to have again soon. I’m pretty much in love with volunteering.
Have you every volunteered for a race? What was your experience like?
Happy Tuesday everybody!! Two days of posts in a row? I’m on a roll!