Today I volunteered for the Rocket Run 10-Miler in Mooresville, AL. Rick ran the race and was able to PR, and I saw my friends Julia and Jane there as well as a bunch of other runners from Huntsville. Mooresville is only a 15 minute drive from Madison (it's where I've been meeting Kylie to run). It's one of few 10 mile distances around here, and, because of this, many people like to go for state records at this race. Today a guy from Madison, Josh Whitehead, ran the overall state record (for any age group)!
My volunteer requirements for Valerie (the race director) were that I be near the finish line (I knew the kids could play there since there is a big magnolia tree) and that my job be kid-friendly (this often leads to me getting jobs like handing out waters or other similarly easy jobs rather than, say, data entry, but I say all jobs are important!).
So today she put me on finish line duty with a guy named Daniel. This guy was pretty neat. When I asked him why he chose to volunteer today, he said he was a new runner and that he'd run a couple of 5Ks. He knew he couldn't run this race, so why not give back? He mentioned his job which involved 12-hour shifts. He sounded very busy, but he still found the time to volunteer for his newfound sport. I think he's making a good example for other runners.
I enjoyed hearing him tell me "newbie tales," like how in his first race he just tore the tab off of his bib and left it in the car, not wanting to have that extra piece flapping around and showing everyone how much of a newbie he was! He later discovered that the race directors use those pull tabs to track the finishers!
That's exactly what our job was today. We were assigned the job of standing in the finish chute and pulling the pull tabs. Then we were to place them on these long strings---in order!---and give them to the finish line data entry people, who would use this method as a back-up to a computer system they were also doing. I must admit, though I've run in many races, I've never been assigned this job before. I liked the new challenge! With only 150 runners (or so), the finish line was manageable the whole time and never went too fast for us!
Our job went from 51 minutes in (when the first finisher came through) until 2 hours (when the last finisher came through). It was exciting to see each person come in, especially the front runners. I wondered if I could have pulled a first overall women finish today when I saw the first girl come in over 1:10 (probably not since I've had the stomach bug this week, but maybe on a good day?). I think Daniel did a great job for his first time to volunteer. He handled the strings, while I got the tabs. My kids played happily in the magnolia tree nearby. They have done a lot of volunteering already for their ages, so it was fine with me that they were not needed to help today.
This is our first hot (mid-70s) weekend here in Alabama, and I attempted 7 miles after the race. It was hot (for me), and I still felt a little weak from my bug earlier in the week. I didn't want to push it too much and think I wisely decided to stop before I felt too tired. I am back to eating (yay!) and am ready to feel energy return. Today it was enough just to give back a little at the race and to feel the sun again afterwards. Things are looking up!
|Photo by Gregg Gelmis|
Me and my girl at the race start this morning