Sunday, October 21, 2012

Volunteering At The KC Marathon

Mile 14 had the most beautiful water-hander-outer in the whole race!
(My wife Michael ... duh!)
On Saturday I finally took the time to volunteer at a race at the 2012 Kansas City Marathon.  I know, it's about time ... I mean enough people have handed me water over the years and the least I could do is pay it back a little!

Michael and I signed up for the North Face Water Stop at about mile 14 through her triathlon group, KC Tri.  But I was really surprised to find that when we got to the stop to set up, it was Michael, me, our friend Christi ... and four other people we didn't know.  Only seven of us, which seemed a little light.  But it ended up being enough people and everything ran fairly smoothly.

This was the first time in four years that I had not ran either the half or full at this race, and it kinda bummed me out a little.  But after crashing at Wichita last weekend, my legs were not quite ready to run another race.  I'm really very biased, but I love the Kansas City Marathon.  It's my hometown marathon and I just love the course and look forward to it every year.  It's a little hilly, but in my opinion, it's one of the most beautiful marathon courses I've ran.  And it  will always hold a special place for me in that it was the Saturday marathon of my first ever back-to-back Saturday/Sunday marathons last year (Des Moines was on Sunday).  To this day, the 2011 Kansas City Marathon is still probably my favorite ever.  Everything just clicked that day and it was perfect.

It was really interesting to watch each of the runners as they passed the water stop at mile 14.  Some looked strong at that point ... others were already about to die.  Some were smiling (mostly the women) ... some had a look of concern and determination on their face.  Some slowed down to take water ... some stopped in the middle of the water stop, which made one lady curse the guy in front of her as she crashed into his back "REALLY ... SH*T!!!"

There were a couple of funny moments too ...

Me lining up cups
A guy who passed just after the 5 hour pace group asked us, "I think I can still win this thing ... how many runners are in front of me?"

One guy with quite a bit of treble in his voice, who in hindsight might have been hitting on me, said, "You have a runner's body, you should be out here with us!"  Uh, thanks I guess?  I just laughed and told him was doing a great job.

And as he stopped to take a cup of Gatorade, a head-phoned clad older guy, with a slight foreign accent, took out one of his earbuds as if to show it my wife and said, "Listen, they're playing our love song!"  Ha - priceless.  Michael just said, "Okay, that's good?" as she handed him the drink.

There was also a heart-breaking moment.  A girl ran up to one of the other volunteers about 2 hours into the race and said, "I think I missed my turn for the half-marathon!"  Again ... our waterstop was at MILE 14!!!  The poor girl had missed the race split back at the Country Club Plaza area around mile seven where the half-marathoners head back downtown and the full marathoners keep going.  She was devastated and we all felt horrible for her.  But the volunteer drove her back to the finish line so she could cross and get her medal.  How bad would that suck?

Michael and I also saw tons of people we knew.  There were a lot of Michael's triathlon friends running the marathon, and I even knew Jadin, the 4 hour pacer.  About the time the six hour pace went by, a lady stopped and asked me, "Do you live in Lee's Summit?  Aren't you that guy who's always running?"  I just laughed and said, "Yeah - I live there - and I do run a lot."  I actually recognized her too.  She lives a couple of neighborhoods over from ours and I've seen her several times.  She looked pretty strong at that point, and I think she might have been pacing a friend.

All in all it was a great day.  The weather was perfect for running - about 45 degrees with no wind,  and it was a beautiful sunshiny morning.  We had a great time, but it would have been a whole lot more fun with more people we knew.  But we'll definitely do it again some weekend when we're not racing.  And as corny as it sounds, it was just great to finally give back a little to a sport that has given me so much.  Hope your running's going great ...
... be great today!


  1. Isn't volunteering great? It's a different world being on that side of the fence. It's not corny at all, it's always great to give back to the sport we love.

  2. I've read quite a few reports now of runners who have volunteered and everyone enjoys it. Must do it myself one of these days.

  3. I never have the energy to joke in a race - esp. a marathon. Good for them. I have volunteered but not recently. Good reminder.

  4. Good on you to volunteer!

    Wow that is a bummer for the girl that missed the half marathon turn off, I've always been afraid of doing that in a race.

    Nice job on your fantasy baseball team!

    The only fantasy sport I do is NFL football survivor league - where you pick 1 team a week who you think is going to win, and you can only pick the same team once. I won $860 by winning it in 2010. This year I was doing great, until the Steelers laid an egg against the Titans and lost last week. My pool is double elimination so I'm still alive, but now my chances of winning are a lot lower.

  5. Volunteering at marathons is awesome and those stories are epic. I volunteered at the SLC marathon this year and it definitely gave me a whole new perspective. I think every runner should have to volunteer at least once a year.

    I'm glad you had a good time.

  6. I love being a volunteer at marathons. It is good to support the sport and the sportsmen too.

    Tribulus Terrestris

  7. I love being a volunteer at marathons. It is good to support the sport and the sportsmen too.

    Tribulus Terrestris

  8. I volunteered at a tri back in September and I freaking loved it. I could do that every weekend if there were ones around. The people in the middle of the pack and in the back are the most fun but I'm biased maybe, those are my people :)


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