Monday, September 28, 2009

Working the Marathon

This past weekend was the Akron Marathon. I know people who run it and admittedly, the people I do know who run it give me a reason to feel motivated, to feel excited about running. So last week, while perusing the marathon website and checking out the race course I came across the "Volunteer Sign Up" link. I thought to myself "Could I get a free t-shirt out of this?" The answer: YES! It was settled, I would be a volunteer - a beacon of community service, an involved member of my city, a wide eyed and eager running enthusiast ready to meet some real runners... "I wonder: could I snag one of those freebie bags, too?" HELL YES!

I signed up for the Expo. I could register a racer, couldn't I? My assignment: 10:00 - 2:00, Packet Pick-up. I decided to ride my bike to the Expo, I would look soooo cool rolling up in my Giant mountain bike. So super cool. I got there 30 minutes early... and there really wasn't anyone to witness my coolness. Anyways - I arrived at the same time as the blue haired brigade. These four elderly ladies were quite nice and volunteer veterans, I followed them into the very large John S. Knight center. After 30 minutes of folding tech shirts (those are slippery suckers when it comes to folding) I took company with the blue haired brigade and went over to registration. I asked to work the marathon check in, far less complicated than checking in those relay teams (5 bibs, one envelope - that was frustration just waiting to happen.) I stood ready with Amy, a perky recent college graduate and my new friend for the next 4 hours. Every ten minutes the loudspeaker bellowed the countdown to 11:00, zero hour, the opening of the Expo. At 11:00 we braced ourselves, waiting for herds of runner to attack us demanding their bibs. This - did not happen. It was a steady flow of runners. As each person picked up their bib I wondered "What pace do they run?", "How many marathons have they raced?", "Did they travel far to get here?" Hell, Runner's World highlighted the Akron Marathon, I half expected to give Kara Goucher her bib. This did not happen. However, I did check in loads of first timers (they had special stickers on their bibs) and some relatively seasoned marathoners with some seriously hot thighs.

My work ended and I took a couple of jaunts around the Expo -- I left with loads of free goodies, great company and sense of accomplishment. I was part of the Akron Marathon, even though I didn't run in an event. As for the actual marathon the next day, I was on duty yet again. I drove two marathoners into Akron, provided loads of fan support, cheered like the dickens and cried like a baby when the first wheelchair marathoner finished. (Now that's some serious dedication...)

As for next year, perhaps I will be in a relay team, maybe I'll even be trained up enough to do the half. Will I volunteer again? HELL YES! Who can resist the freebies and the sense of community? I definitely cannot.


  1. Nut up and register for the full next year! ya gotta push yourself dude. Just because you're stuck in ohio with viper, don't let that slow you down.

    welcome to the nerdwebs! it should feel good to be amongst your own kind. I reserve the right to make fun of you for crochet'ing later.