Thursday, October 9, 2008

Twin Cities Marathon - Volunteer Report

A little history for those that don't already know…I REALLY wanted to run the TC 10 miler this year (the 'shortcut to the capital' run along with the Twin Cities Marathon). Last year I saw some footage of the finishers on the local news station and was totally inspired. I had not run anything longer than a 5K at the time, so I didn't think I would be ready for the marathon this year, but was hoping to do the 10 mile in 2008 and the TCM in 2009. Well, I didn't get selected in the lottery, so my plans got changed a little. Anyway, I really still wanted to be a part of the marathon weekend events, so I signed up for the 5K and also signed up to be a volunteer. This was my first volunteer experience.

I showed up a little after 7 AM and started mixing Powerade and setting up the glasses. I met a few nice people who were also volunteering. A little after 8 the first rush started from the 10 miler. Everyone looked so happy and I was a bit jealous. During the rush of 10 mile finishers it started raining. This was a steady COLD rain. We kept working until the rush ended about 30 minutes later. Then, once we had replenished our supplies we went to find a tent and some coffee to warm up.

By the time the marathoners started coming through it had stopped raining (and my shivers were settling down). It was amazing seeing the different conditions that the runners were in. Some of them looked like they had just jogged a 5K and others could barely walk (ok, most were in the barely walking category). There were some really inspiring sights though. I saw one older gentleman that had a sign on his back declaring this Marathon #300! I saw Kara Goucher (10 miler Women's National Championship winner) and Alberto Salazar on their way to the VIP tent. I couldn't help asking questions of those that looked interested to talk…one woman told me she just got a 20-some minute PR and everyone raved about the beautiful course and all the spectators out in the poor weather.

The most inspiring person that I met was an older lady (she had a F80+ sign on her back) that was one of the last to finish. She was in the best spirits. I helped her open her water bottle and wrap the mylar blanket around her waist. She said that she beat the course closing by 2 minutes! She was feeling good, her core was doing good, her heart and lungs were still ready to go. But her legs had just gotten too cold and wouldn't run anymore so she had to walk the last 2 miles…but she still made it! Wow, what an amazing woman.

I couldn't believe how many of the runners made it a point to thank us too. I just kept telling them that they deserved it. In the shape that many of them were in, it is amazing that they were thinking about us. It was appreciated though.

I was also thoroughly impressed with the organization of the race (from the finish-line perspective that I had at least). There were plenty of EMS around and they were checking up on anyone that looked like they may need some help. One woman sat down on the curb near us and there was a triage EMS with her within about 30 seconds talking to her and asking her questions. They even had a couple people with radios up in the air picking people out of the crowd that looked like they needed assistance.

In conclusion - Although we had crappy weather and I was wet and cold for most of the morning…I absolutely loved volunteering. The experience has only strengthened my desire to actually run this marathon next year.


Rachel said...

Sounds like a great experience. It was really wet out there and I was happy that I didn't make it into this year's pool. One of these years the weather will be right...

*jen* said...

Hey there. I tagged you. Check out my blog for details.