Monday, June 3, 2013

my experience volunteering at a race

on sunday i popped my race volunteer cherry... and it was awesome!

every runner i've ever encountered that has volunteered at a race has said that every other runner needs to do it at least once. and i 100% agree. volunteering gave me a new appreciation for the races i run, everything that goes into making a race happen and an even bigger appreciation for the runners who give everything they have to cross that finish line.

brandon and i volunteered to hand out medals for the 5k, 10k and half marathon of the 40th dexter-ann arbor run. we volunteered on behalf of our gym, applied fitness solutions, and i was really excited to finally hang out with fellow runner and afs-er andrea for the morning!

this is us at the very end of the race,
waiting for the last runners to cross

i was super stoked to hand out medals because i originally thought my sister and her boyfriend would be running. how awesome would it be to knight your sister with a race medal? while she wasn't able to run, her boyfriend did and it was a lot of fun to knight him with his medal after he finished. i also loved handing out medals to some of my co-workers - i think they were all surprised to see me with a medal for them at the end of their run!

this was the 40th anniversary of the dexter-ann arbor run so every runner got a medal. every 5k, 10k and half marathon runner! needless to say, our 4 hours of volunteering for all three races was busy! it was neat to be there to see the very first runner of all three races cross the line and see the very last runner finish. brandon and i made sure the last runner had a great cheering section to come home to. she deserved it!

the medals were awesome - pictures don't do them justice

i didn't anticipate how difficult and stressful handling out medals could be. it sounds easy in theory, but medals get tangled up and often i'd have a runner wobbling in front of me waiting for me to stop fumbling with the medals and hand them one. i always felt so bad and wanted to give them their medals as fast as possible! didn't anticipate that challenge. but aside from that, handing out medals was such a rewarding experience.

another thing i didn't anticipate, but appreciated even more, was how many runners thanked us for volunteering. here are the runners, exhausted, hot, tired and they are taking their first few breaths to thank me for being there for them! what a humbling moment. i know i always thank people when i can, but i'm going to remember to do it from now on in the race chute. you never know how much a simple thank you can make someone's day!

i had a great time volunteering. brandon and i got race shirts for being volunteers and it was fun to wear them as inspiration during our runs later in the afternoon. i will say my legs were so tired after standing around for so long, but it was totally worth it.

i highly suggest volunteering for at least one race in your lifetime. i have a new sense of perspective and appreciation for a sport i love so much and for the runners i enjoy my sport with!

have you ever volunteered at a race? what did you think? is it on your bucket list to do?


  1. I keep meaning to volunteer. I did one race, and it was so motivational and inspirational, I wanted to get out there and run. That has since wore off ;) But I do agree, people should see the behind the scenes. Especially those who complain about xyz at a race.

  2. Definitely going to add a race to my calendar just to volunteer at. Been wanting to do it for a while and you just convinced me that it needs to happen now!


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