This year Rick and I tried to help more with Cotton Row. There are so many opportunities to volunteer since it is a huge race, and they are not hard to do! A week ago, we stuffed packets at the Hampton House. We were there roughly 4 hours, and we (along with all the other volunteers!) finished 5,000 packets in record time! It was not hard at all--we just walked around the table putting forms into the packets. We even brought our children, and my daughter helped me put safety pins into the packets (she could not count out 4 very reliably--she's only 2!)--so she would add two and then I would add two more. Suzanne had tons of snacks for us all and we jammed to music on a boom box. It's an easy job and you don't have to have any racing experience to do it!
Then today I did packet pickup at the Civic Center from 3-6. It was great to get to see all of my friends who are running tomorrow, and it was neat to talk to Mark and Kathy (I've worked with them two years in a row now--they are good friends of ours). Plus I met a lot of other runners. So many people get excited about Cotton Row, and it is neat to be a part of the pickup. I even got to meet a guy who's ran all 30 previous Cotton Rows (a "streaker"). My job was basically crossing off names from the 10K "S" list (last names of S) and helping to give Mark or Kathy the runner's number and shirt size so we could give the runner all of their stuff. They had snacks for us there too. They are great to the volunteers!
Rick worked a shift last Saturday where he manned an aid station at the top of the steep 10K hill (Mountainwood) so people could do practice runs on the course. They also used volunteers to run with (or just start) the runners on the training runs. That is an easy job since you get to run while volunteering! I wanted to help with that but stayed home with the children. Rick was home before they woke up!
Tomorrow, Rick is helping set up the start line set up at 5:30 a.m. I will meet him to run the 10K and drop the children off with him by about 6:15 a.m. Then he will run the 5K and we will all attempt the 1 mile fun run. We will be very busy--but loving this awesome run and enjoying a special holiday together.
If you have never volunteered before because you don't feel qualified, I want to encourage you to do one of the opportunities I mentioned above. Especially if you are running in the races, you need to give back! These opportunities allow you to run the race without volunteering race day, but there are lots more volunteers needed race day if you don't plan to run an event.