Monday, December 29, 2014

#31 - Volunteer at a marathon - CHECK!

I checked the first thing off of my 40x40 list today!   I volunteered at the 3 Bridges Marathon. It's a fairly small marathon, I think only 300-400 runners.  But I adore the bridge system around here, so I've had a fascination with the marathon since it started last year. 

The plan was to bring the girls to cheer while I worked. I had been told I was working at the mile 19 station, so that would have worked perfectly. But I was actually assigned to the finish line, which was far more exciting, but I wasn't sure how well I could keep an eye on the girls.  I recruited my sister to come cheer with them so I didn't worry about them rubbing off or getting snatched. 

Now, the temp was in the 50s, so I thought it would be great. But it was windy and rainy, especially by the river, so it was COLD.  By the time I went home, I was soaked and freezing. It took HOURS to thaw my toes. 

My volunteer shift didn't begin until 11am, but we got there about 9am to cheer. Mile 19 passed by the Finish, so it was the perfect spot. But the girls were so cold by 11 that I sent them to the van and asked my sister to just come pick them up and take them home. 

I had three 1 hour shifts, passing out medals, then blankets, then clipping timing chips. I LOVED putting the medals around the runners necks! I enjoyed passing out blankets, too, and patting them on the back. I didn't clip many chips, because it was at the tail end of the race and only a handful of runners were left. 

My favorite moment was while I was passing out medals. A man came across the Finish and looked at me and said, "I need your shoulders. "  I was confused,  but stepped forward. He placed his hands on my shoulders and then just collapsed onto me. I held him up, telling him how awesome he was and helped get him to a table once he could walk. I'm not one to like to be touched, especially by strangers, but it was awesome to be there for him like that. 

It was just so inspiring.  All the different emotions in the runners' faces crossing the line. I loved every minute. And I stayed until the last runner finished, because I know how important it is to have support when you're at the back of the pack. I'll definitely volunteer again. Hopefully on a warmer day....

 The signs lasted about 15 minutes in the rain.  Bummer.

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