Wednesday, March 7, 2012

UAH Spring 10K Volunteering

Rick, the kids, and I volunteered at the UAH Spring 10K on Sunday, March 4 at 2:00 p.m.  It seemed like a good run to volunteer at since we are marathon training and not as ready for 10K races right now.  And it worked out nicely to eat out after church, change clothes, and head over to the UAH campus.  I feel somewhat of a "burden" when I volunteer with my kids, but then they always end up surprising me with how helpful they really can be!  In the summer they volunteered with me at the A&M 10K (see here) and were great at spraying runners with a water hose and cleaning up the cups.  Today, they were very helpful at filling up water cups, distributing them, and picking them up.  Let's just say that they also added a little something to the aid station too.  Here's the story.

It was a chilly day (low 50s) with a brisk wind (you wouldn't think so from the picture of my daughter, but she was offered tights to wear, and she refused!).  This race is a 5K course run twice, and the only aid station sits somewhere around miles 1 and 4.  When we arrived at UAH, the race director told us to head to the aid station to begin filling cups.  It was a short walk from the start/finish line.  We began filling cups and soon had the entire table and surrounding curbs filled also.

Filling cups--half full!

Soon the people started running by for the first time (they would eventually pass us four times total).  Andrew Hodges was first, with a pretty good lead which you can see below.  As we started handing out waters, I realized that there are definitely different types of hand offs!  There were many sloshed waters (even though we grabbed the cups lightly at the top so the runners could wrap their hands around the cups) and even a few missed attempts!  Then there were the people who slowed down or even stopped for the water.  It was so sweet to see so many people choose to take waters from the kids.  The kids would shout, "Yes!" if they were able to hand out a water without getting splashed.  I love that they turned handing out the water into a game!

Go Andrew!
After seeing the majority of the runners twice, we filled more cups and readied ourselves for Round 2.  This is when the kids did something that I thought was absolutely adorable and very sweet.  They started gathering flowers to hand out with the waters.  They were placing the flowers gently over the top of the water cups, not in them.  Now since I am a runner who takes her races pretty seriously, I know you may be thinking, "Ummm, are you sure the runners actually wanted the flowers?"  But I found that the people who chose to take waters from the kids really didn't mind at all!  I heard many people exclaim, "Oh!" and "Bless you!"
They would smile brightly and even continue to hold the flower long after tossing the cup.

I saw something that could have been boring or even a chore (handing out water to runners) turned into something that was fun and special.  We were all just smiling and having the best time doing this together as a family.  We enjoyed commenting favorably about each runner who accepted the flowers, and the kids loved running to the grassy area to collect more.  And the runners!!  SO MANY runners called out a "thanks!" to us as they went by.  Manning a water station seems like such a small thing to do, but it was nice to know that so many people appreciated our little job.

Even more surprising was how we used this opportunity as a means to teach our kids about the importance of volunteering, and then they were the ones who taught us how to really reach out in love to those around you as only a child can.  Though this sport has not yet given them much, it has given me a lot.  It was so sweet for me to see them volunteering with such dedication and excitement for something that means so much to me. Today I learned from them the true attitude which we should all have whenever we do something for others. You are never "just handing out waters."  You never know when it might be much more than that to someone.

My daughter handing out water

Our neighbor (running her first 10K) accepts water and a "bonus" flower.

Carrying her flowers after a job well done


  1. I just LOVE this!! They are so precious helping and so very sweet! Definitely makes a race worth running if the volunteers are such awesome helpers! :)

  2. This is so sweet! The kids were so thoughtful to hand out flowers. I really wish I had run this race. We were supposed to be in Bham for a 5K but with the weather decided it was best not to travel.