Wow -- I knew that it took a lot to put on a race... but volunteering has given me much, much more respect for those who do it. WOW.
I arrived at the field house at 5:15 AM. I "slept in" until 4:20 AM. I helped the main guy, Pete, unload his van. Pete practically put on the whole event by himself! No kidding. It was pretty amazing.
With two other ladies, I worked the registration table. There was a total of 149 racers (112 for the 20k, 37 for the marathon). A ton of people signed up on the spot. I have never done that. It was certainly easier to "check in" a pre-registered person!
The marathon started at 6:30 AM. I stepped outside, cashbox in hand, to watch the start. Pete simply gave instructions with a bullhorn (is that right? maybe they're called megaphones -- it was electronic) The high school ROTC students staffed all of the water stops. Radio folks were out, too, to report on the whereabouts of the racers. What an operation!
As the 20k began at 7:30 AM, I had just as much excitement about me as I did when the marathoners took off. I wanted to be out there! Alas, I was a volunteer. My next job was to be the backup finish line timer. I got to push a little device that looked like a "pain pump" that people get in the hospital. Another lady pushed the main "pain pump." We perched together at the finish line, which was lined with state flags. The finish line itself was duct tape on the asphalt street. Ha!
The 20k winner came storming in with a time of 1:13. Wow! He was the son-in-law of the lady who cuts my hair. I have been hearing about him for years. And he is at nearly every race that I am.
A while later the winner of the marathon zipped in with a time of 3:13. My friend Lou finished the 20k in 2:25.
My main observation of the finishers was that they all looked relatively GOOD. I thought I would see more angst... but even I put on a "good face" for the finish line. Maybe the water stops were where all of the angst was seen.
After a while, it got to be b-o-r-i-n-g. There would be huge gaps between finishers. Not exciting! But then another would come in and there would be a little fiesta. The last marathoner arrived in just over six hours -- the whole crowd cheered!
The minute that guy crossed the line and the finish line chairs (which were seldom used) were returned to the field house, I was "dismissed" by Pete. It was nearly an 8-hour commitment.
It was just amazing -- all of the hours donated by individuals to put on a race. The guy who handled the timing has handled all of the timing for all races in Benton, and who knows where all else. That is a commitment! The rear of his SUV looks like starfleet command!
I give volunteering two thumbs up. I highly recommend it. I aim to do it at least once per year from here on out!