You may not know it, but this week is National Volunteer’s Week (today is also Administrative Professionals Day, so don’t forget to to tell your favorite administrative professionals how much you appreciate them…or you know, buy them wine because they probably need it).
I work at a non-profit, so we do a lot of volunteer appreciation all the time, but I wanted to take a second to thank my other volunteers…RACE VOLUNTEERS. Those who get up early on days off just to make sure that runners stay hydrated along the course, who make sure medals get placed with importance around sweaty necks, and who spend hours upon hours making sure every bib is placed in a bag with exactly 4 safety pins.
It definitely isn’t glamorous work. They get sticky Gatorade thrown at them, they have frustrated runners yell at them when all of the size-small t-shirts are gone, they have to repeat the word “water” over and over and over again for hours at a time, and they have to keep enthusiastic (and sometimes drunk college-aged) spectators from running across the course during the race. But they do it, and they do it with amazing conviction. I have seen plenty of volunteers frantically filling cups at an empty aid station but I have never seen one just stand there, waiting for someone else to do it.
Our running lives are greatly enhanced by the commitment of volunteers, and I would even venture to say that without the support they provide, the races that we train for and love so much would not exist.
So THANK YOU to anyone who has ever volunteered at a race to make my and my fellow runners’ experience better.
You rock our little running world far more than you know.
And a special personal thanks to:
1) The aid station volunteers at the Bataan Memorial Death March who ALL sprung into immediate action to hand me snacks and drinks and cheers even though I was the only runner in the general area.
2) The nice MIT athletes who probably didn’t actually “volunteer” themselves to run the bus line to Hopkinton at 5:00 am on a school holiday, but still managed to keep everything flowing smoothly while helping poor little nervous runners like myself keep calm and collected with humor.
3) Actually, every single volunteer at the Boston Marathon this year. They saved lives, lifted spirits, and went above and beyond in various ways including handing out medals and gear bags long after the marathon was interrupted.
4) Anyone who has handed me a cup along the course. I’m sorry for the amount of spillage I have caused.
The nice and helpful MIT Boys (in the yellow jackets). THANK YOU, BOYS! I am on the bus in the 2nd row checking my cell phone (Aaron had just sent me a text message. Apparently everyone in this picture knew he was taking it (including Beth in the front row!) except for me.