Monday, September 19, 2011

So why haven’t you volunteered yet?

I know I’ve talked about volunteering before but I just want to tell you again how important I think it is that everyone volunteer at a race once in awhile. I try to do at least one a year. Sometimes there are perks such as a free race entry or the swag bag and a t-shirt and sometimes not. But the most important part is it gives you a new perspective as well as some insights into why things are done the way they are and why they are important. It can also remind you of why it is you do this.

This weekend I volunteered at the Crescent Moon Tri. This is a very beginner friendly tri, in fact I believe I heard that they had a record number of 1st timers this year. I worked a variety of jobs which is kind of unusual. Most times you volunteer for one spot and that’s what you do the entire time. However as I stated before the RD was lacking some help. I started in packet pickup. I then moved briefly to body marking, that was kind of fun. You get the chance to interact a little more with the athletes. From there I went to back up timing, (I don’t know about all races but I would assume most, have a machine that you enter bib numbers in as the athlete crosses the line it then prints the number and the time on a roll of paper like a 10 key) at the swim in-run out and then finally when I went to find out about getting a lunch ticket, the RD was the only one there and seemed a little busy so I ended up helping out at the finish line taking off some timing chips and adding water to the ice.

So what came out of the day?

I was reminded that no matter what you should have confidence in yourself and be yourself. This from the lady who arrived in transition with the biggest reddest bike I have ever seen and was already dressed in her wetsuit despite the fact that she still had probably an hour before her swim wave. She also arrived in transition after the swim unable to remove her wetsuit and asking for help. Yet never did I see her confidence waver or her belief in herself diminish.

Everyone can be a hero? As I watched one man being cheered on by his wife and 3 children. I could see in their faces that they were so proud, awed and inspired by him.

Damn...some of those people are fast!

Everyone is new once, and even if you’re not new you sometimes make newbie mistakes. There were many, many people who wore their race numbers during the swim. Quite a few people who were not body marked, and 4 people we stopped from running out of T2 with their helmets still on.

Race numbers, both marking and bibs are important for the backup timing. If we can’t see your number, we can’t record it.

It’s always fun to cheer for your friends and make some new ones.

It can be overwhelming to do something you never thought you could. This from the girl who was sobbing at the finish line with happiness.

So I ask you

Why haven’t you volunteered yet? Chances are you will get more out of it then you could ever imagined.


Christi said...

Volunteering is a lot of fun. Thanks for taking the time to volunteer and then for sharing your experience!

She said I need a goal said...

I love volunteering! I'd rather that than race to be honest. I am waiting on volunteer details for IMMT so when I go cheer on my friends I'll also have some fun volunteering. My best friend is coming with me, she's never seen a triathlon before, nevermind volunteering and seeing a full. We are STOKED!

Yet another reason why you are one of my favourites. :-) All around class act you are.

sugarmagnolia70 said...

Great post! I volunteered for my first time a few weeks ago (handed out medals at a half marathon) and was inspired, humbled and motivated. I definitely agree, volunteer at least once a year!

Matthew Smith said...

I agree with volunteering. Every race I do, I'm amazed at how wonderful the volunteers are. It's pretty incredible! Good for you for helping out.

Julie said...

I haven't volunteered at a tri yet, but I've volunteered a marathon. You don't realize how much the volunteers are working and dealing with the elements until you actually do it yourself.

BTW...I have an Ironman friend who wears his number through all three legs. Just one less step for him to remember, I guess.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Volunteering is a must in my books, thanks for doing it

Jill said...

It was so good seeing you at the race, even if it was just for a few minutes!! I almost always volunteer at the Platte River Half marathon and the Park to Park 10-miler; my friend, Maureen Roben, puts on those big races and always in needs of volunteers. I have a blast. Glad you had a great time as well, and walked away with whole new perspective for the sport you love so much!

Friday I must have cheered for 2 hours straight at my son's xc meet and then 2 hours on Saturday at the triathlon...I think my next new job will be cheerleader!! :)

Aimee said...

Good for you for volunteering! This year was the first year that I volunteered at races and I loved it! I actually like being on the other side of things and cheering everyone on!

Jennifer said...

Great post! I had a great time volunteering last week. My favourite part? When I cheered a "you got this!" over to a couple of people who looked like they were struggling...they turned to each other, said "yeah, WE GOT THIS" and picked up the pace with a smile. That was alone was worth it for me!

Terzah said...

The Boulder Marathon was my first real volunteering experience...and you are so right! It's an eye-opener, and makes you feel good about helping other athletes, and how tough everyone doing these events is, regardless of where they are in the final standings. I signed up for a volunteer shift at the Olympic Trials Marathon in Houston, the day before the citizens' marathon I'm entered in. And I hope my family and I can do more local volunteering too.

Cory Reese said...

I found out how fun volunteering is too. At the St. George Ironman we volunteered at the finish line and it was like being part of the race without all the suffering. Awesome!

T said...

we keep talking about volunteering for a race and it just hasn't happened yet. i think we just need to make it a priority next year!