After a race volunteer at the Chicago Marathon fed me Honey Stinger fruit chews while I was laying on the ground of the finish line, I decided it was probably my turn to volunteer at a race. I’ve certainly benefitted a lot from volunteers at the races I have done this year. In addition to the fruit chew feeding at the Chicago Marathon, I also managed to fall twice while running the Aspen Golden Leaf Trail Half-Marathon. The workers at the first aid tent kind of saved my life. At least the aspen leaves were really pretty? And the volunteers at the Wild West Relay deserve gold medals. Some of those volunteers were working check points in 37 degree weather from 2:00 – 6:00 a.m.! Anyway, the point of this is that I believe that as a responsible member of the running community it’s important to be on the other side of the finish line occasionally.
And so three weeks ago when I got an email from the leader of Denver Trail Runners asking for race volunteers for the Bear Creek Lake Park 10 Spot, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. At the time, the idea of being at Bear Creek Lake Park by 7:30 a.m. on Sunday sounded completely reasonable. In practice, Saturday night was one of my friend’s birthdays and I didn’t get home until 2:00 a.m. My 6:00 a.m. alarm sounded way too early. I bribed myself out of bed with some coffee and managed to get myself to the registration table promptly at 7:30.
I was kept pretty busy during the race. I helped with registration, I worked two water tables and I collected bib numbers at the finish line. I mean I think we all know in my alternate life I would be a high school Spanish teacher and a cross country coach. Although I was exhausted from the night before, it was actually fun to be on the other side of a race, and I am really starting to appreciate the Colorado running community. I might be partial – but I think people who run are pretty great!
Highlights of the race included the runners dressed in kilts above. And don’t worry, I know them. I went to college with Ian, the second runner in the green hat. It was almost worth being at the race just to see these guys running around! I also loved Bill, a 70 year old man who is my new personal hero. He just kept trucking along the whole race with the best attitude. This was a ten mile trail race too, not your typical road race 5K. Basically I want to be like Bill when I am 70.
At the end of the day, I was so glad I volunteered at the race. It was a beautiful day, and I could have just been wasting it away sleeping. Though I definitely did go to bed at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday night. See? With my 8:30 bedtime, I’m already well on my way to being a 70 year old, just like Bill! There is hope.