Monday, October 19, 2015

Participating in a Race while Standing Still: I volunteered at the Snohomish River Run

Have you ever wanted to participate in a race and thought: "I just can't do that"?

Or, "Yeah that would be cool, but":

 And yet, you look at races and you want to DO SOMETHING!

Well stop wanting, and start doing!

How, you ask? I will tell you:

You probably already figured out this was where I was going based on the post's title, but seriously, it can be really fun.

Last weekend, our Girls on the Run chapter volunteered at the Snohomish River Run. The run also had us as their charity partner. We're a brand new chapter, I'm on the board, and it is all incredibly cool.

We needed a couple of dozen volunteers, so I got to work on recruiting. I managed to convince three coworkers to join me:


Diana, who spearheaded my cheering squad at my Oly tri,

and Patty.

Those of you who were around in the early days will remember Patty as my bike instructor and triathlon teammate.

The hardest part of volunteering is that you still have to get up really early, but once we arrived I saw that Kerry, our GOTR board chair, had things under control.

We were the first and last water stop for both the 10k AND the half marathon! We had 14 adults and half as many kids and we were busy! For about 2 hours it was pretty much a non-stop stream of racers! My table was in charge of the sports drink, Nuun, while the other table had water.

I struggled with what to tell slightly delirious runners after initially shouting out that I had Nuun. When they asked if I had Gatorade I wasn't sure if they were just asking if it was a sports drink or if they wanted specifics.

Personally, I always want the specifics.

As incredibly useful as that was to the people rushing by, the majority of the time I just yelled louder:

The other thing I shouted often was:

For most of the race we had some good tunes blasting from Kerry's car, and as the racers spread out to a trickle, we danced, chatted, and started guessing when the last person would come by. I made the executive decision for those I had driven that we were staying until the very end.

Yeah, it was a pretty creepy thing to say.

But listen, there is nothing more disheartening than getting to a water table when they are packing up, and it is JUST WRONG to eliminate a station before the last person has passed by.

I also did not want to recreate the situation Christy and I were in at last year's Beat the Blerch marathon: Two hours in, our head volunteer announced she was going home with her music and took two volunteers away with her, leaving me suddenly in charge with no idea what my responsibilities were.

Talk about poor volunteer etiquette.

Since we were staying, Kelly decided to skip up the road a bit and encourage people midpoint.

After we were certain the last racer had come by, Diana texted her to head back. She ran back at an impressive speed!

She had been busy in that field.

All in all, it was a fun day that was successful for our Girls on the Run chapter and it seemed like the racers enjoyed themselves too! Ya know, for pushing your body through 13.1 miles on your feet nonstop.

So remember, you don't have to run/walk/wheelchair your way through a race to be part of it. In the immortal words of Rydell High's Principal McGee:


1. Do you like to volunteer? If so, where?
2. Have you ever been part of Girls on the Run? What do you think about it?
3. Are your coworkers people you don't mind seeing outside of work?
4. Most importantly, do you know what movie I borrowed that last saying from? (If you don't, I'm afraid we might not be able to be friends, so maybe you should Google it.)



  1. One of the best movies and most endearing Principal's of all time. As always, great post!

    1. See, I knew there was a reason I liked you. I have to say though, she was kind of a ball buster; her vice principal though? Adorable.

  2. Replies
    1. One of my favourite silly musicals of all time :D

  3. As someone now in charge of organizing a charitable 5K fun run, I second and third and 20th your suggestion and make it a plea: PLEASE, oh god please please please volunteer!

    1. Oh how I don't envy you. But everyone: go volunteer for this man...antelope!!

  4. OMG I am impressed you survived without running yourself! If I were to volunteer, I would totally get up ass early to work out myself and then go... And then I would be like HA - I WORKED OUT ALREADY... Enjoy your run peeps! LOL!

    1. Haha, it was easy since I had a long run the day before. Getting up and driving myself and others at the butt crack of dawn *was* my workout!

  5. I love your stick figure drawings! <3

    I love volunteering at races! It's a ton of fun, and they're the reason I had an excuse to throw a cup of water in someone's face! :P And ahhh! You got to go to the Beat the Blerch marathon?! I haven't run in many many moons (almost exactly 5 years ago, to be exact), but I'm such a big fan of The Oatmeal, I feel like I'd make an exception for that! :P

    1. Thank you Farrah! Yeah I'm enjoying the volunteering side. I went last year, the inaugural race. It was rough around the edges so hopefully it will get better as the years go on. I adore the Oatmeal too :D

  6. I've volunteered at many events- specifically a pacer in the Western States 100, Senior Olympic Triathlon and several Ironman events (wetsuit stripper is an awesome job). I was coaching kid's (mostly girls) cross country in the early 90s for 7 years before girls on the run ever existed…and was race director for a few events with my school district in the 70s/80s.
    I love my co-workers and would hang with them in a heartbeat-but alas I live 45 min. from my work site so don't have a lot of time to spend with them. I spend more time with them than my family! I get up at 3:45 or 4:00 for my own workouts on most days, so the volunteer thing is no big deal. Headed up to IM Arizona in about a month….can't wait to help out and cheer on my tri-friends!

    1. It would be really fun to volunteer at an IM! I should figure that out. Girls on the Run is pretty new. I would have loved this kind of program when I was a kid :)

  7. Ha! I've helped out at my work's 5k events, and they're pretty fun (except for the getting up early thing).

    1. Yep. Getting up early is hard. The rest is easy :)


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