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!
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|