Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Giving Back to The Running Community

I love running so much, but there are a lot of ways you can be involved in the sport besides running in the race.

Have you guys ever been running on a trail and made it to an aid station without anybody there? Well if you haven't, let me just tell you... it sucks! During my 100 miler at Ride The Wind, there were several unmanned aid stations. It wasn't nearly as much fun as when I have experienced fun volunteers at the aid stations of other races.

So when you go volunteer at an aid station or help out a race, you may not know it, but you probably just made a runner feel a lot better. Volunteers are really part of the running family. Volunteering can also be quite fun!

manning the aid station at mile 83 of the Chimera 100

For example, one great thing about big races are people cheering near the finish line. Basically all you need are your hands and/or a cowbell. When people hear all the noise, their adrenaline and morale are increased and they get a great finish to their race experience.  I know from personal experience that a few people cheering for you and some loud noises really make for a great finish. My friend Ed (the Jester) and I have stayed at finish lines until the final runner comes in. That is always really fun. You should try it!
Cheering for the runners at the OC Marathon in 2012
Another way you can give back to the community is by running in someone's name or by running for an organization. I ran in honor of Pete Mingwah at a few of my races. He was an amazing runner I met at several races. He was a member of our California running family and he passed away of a brain aneurism.  I wanted to honor him by wearing a bib with his picture on it. It made me feel good to show his family he was loved by runners everywhere.

Crewing for a runner is another great way to give back. It can help a runner get through their race safely. By crewing you are giving the runner everything they need and helping them get through tough times throughout a race.  I have crewed before and it is really tough work, but to a runner it is amazing to have whatever you need whenever you want it. It is also fun to be such an important part of their race success.
Being on the crew for Ed at Badwater made me really want to run this race!

The last way I think that you can give back to the community is by pacing. Pacers are amazing, they keep you company and entertain you. In my opinion the best part about pacers are the fact that you get to see another living soul that isn't exhausted. Pacers have helped me make bad times in a race not so bad.
pacing my dad at his first 100 miler
It takes a lot of hard work from selfless people to make a running event successful. If you are a runner and you have never volunteered, you really should. It is fun and rewarding.