I’m so excited to have my first ever race volunteering experience. Tomorrow I will be helping out at aid station #1 at the Western Pacific Marathon put on by the company Brazen Racing. I’ve never had a chance to run at one of their events yet, but I’m looking forward to checking them out in the future. They specialize in trail races ranging from 5k to half-marathons, with a few marathon and ultra events thrown in during the year.
I think it’s so so so important to volunteer at races if you have the time. Especially if you’re a runner and racer yourself. Those cups of water you grab at a marathon? There’s a hand holding them. That PB&J you grabbed during that 50K? Someone toiled over a hot stove to make that for you. Or not. But they sure as heck made sure the ratio of PB to J was equal and you should be thankful for that.
Volunteers are also great at giving moral support, especially in smaller races where spectators are rare. In my first 50K, I remember feeling lightheaded and dizzy at around mile 20 or so. At the next aid station I came to, someone immediately noticed I was a little out of it and offered various solutions (salt tabs, eat eat eat, hydrate, take it slow) that helped me finish the race strong. To that person and to the many others who’ve given me water, Gu, potato chips, bandaids, and oranges, I’m forever grateful.
I just hope I’m this chipper at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning!