10 Things I Learned While Volunteering at a Race

I decided to volunteer for the Texas Half event this past weekend. Originally, I had wanted to sign up for the 5 mile run after finding out that the rainy weather was going to hold off, but after talking with a frunner (friend who runs) on Friday, I decided to volunteer with her.

We were assigned the task of being Course Monitors at the first loop of the half marathon. That put us at about the 3.5 mile mark. It was foggy and cold, but we were determined to be out there at our posts, cheering everyone along.

Being a volunteer at an event is TOTALLY DIFFERENT from being a participant. Here are 10 things I learned from standing along the sideline watching it all play out.

(1) It only takes someone 19 minutes to hit 3.5 miles (Yes, our mouths dropped open at that point);16107548_10158017765180137_1932987418204215135_o

(2) Men usually lead the race pack, and women are about 5 to 7 minutes behind the one in first place;
(3) There are many paces, ages, races, and sizes of those participating at events;
(4) Making eye contact with those participating in the events is important so you know whether or not they are doing okay physically. Note to self….Make eye contact with volunteers along the course;
(5) Most participants DO NOT wear their race day shirts; however, they wear customized gear or wear, running club shirts, or just something they are comfortable in…even if that means going shirtless in 40 degree weather (man of course);
(6) Water belts are the way to go as opposed to carrying a water bottle in your hand;
(7) Lots of people run alone and not with their friends. They do cheer their friends on when passing them “on the other side” of the median;
(8) People run/walk/jog while talking on their cell phones during events…say what??;
(9)  It’s okay to be the last one crossing the finish line. The big accomplishment is that you CROSSED IT; and
(10) It takes A LOT of work to put an event together. EVERY volunteer plays a key role in making the event a TOTAL SUCCESS!

I did have fun being a Course Monitor. I must admit that I kind of was jealous of those who were participating in the race. I was so tempted to fall in behind the last person and just run the rest of the course. LOL I did my best to encourage them to keep on going and to let them know that they were awesome for getting it done.

Sitting on the sideline watching these individuals made me realize that I shouldn’t be scared to push myself into doing events that are further than a 5k in distance. No matter if I do intervals or need to walk more than I run the longer distances, the only thing that matters is that I make it across the finish line.

When I do participate in events, I do give a shoutout to the volunteers, and I thank them for being there. If it weren’t for the volunteers, some of the events could not happen. Each and every one who shows up at their posts are doing us a favor. Be sure to thank the volunteers at the next event you take part of.


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