Last year this race was the week after my Wichita Marathon disaster. Even though I was happy to help out, I was still pretty bummed about my failed race the weekend before. This year though, KC came six days after a pretty good run at Chicago for me, so I was able to enjoy it a whole lot more.
Volunteering is so much fun and rewarding. I always look at it like enough kind folks have handed me water and Gatorade over the years, occasionally we need to give a little back to the sport. And lending a hand at a water stop at one of the best marathons in the country is the perfect way to do it.
|Pre-dawn at the mile 4 water stop at 31st & Main in beautiful Kansas City, Missouri ... our home town!|
|Michael and I never miss a photo opp, ha ... I manned the rake most of the race, Michael handed out Gatorade|
|Filling hundreds of cups before the race & then carefully moving the fully loaded tables to the middle of the street|
The Kansas City Police didn't shut down traffic until just a few minutes before the race began, so we loaded the water and Gatorade tables on the curb, and then moved them to the street immediately before the race started. It was so much fun cheering on the runners, and some of our friends as they passed by. I saw my friend Jeff who I ran with all summer, and Paul who was running his first half-marathon, and our A.R.T. doctor Jared. We also saw a blur of Michael's co-worker and super Ironman Ryan ... who came in 8th place overall with a smokin' 2:42!!! This dude's legit!!!
|One of the volunteers picking up cups, and Michael handing out Gatorade trying to keep her hands dry|
One of the guys from Kansas City Track Club (Steve, I think) did a great job on the megaphone letting approaching racers know there was "GATORADE FIRST ... WATER SECOND!!!". That might sound like a minor detail, but when you're ramped up at pace, not having to figure that out for yourself is a big deal. There were about 12,000 runners in all three races combined - marathon, half marathon, and 5K - on Sunday in Kansas City. It was interesting to watch as runners of various abilities passed. The faster elite runners were all business, staring straight ahead, never breaking pace. The mid to back-of-the-pack runners took things a little less seriously, many walking through or stopping at the water stop for a quick breather.
|Volunteers handing out water and Gatorade to runners of all shapes, sizes, and speeds|
|Volunteers at the Mile 4 water stop at the 2013 Kansas City Marathon|
Also, I usually try to throw my cup in a trash can when I'm racing. I just figure it's one less piece of trash for someone to pick up. But most of the runners obviously just dropped them anywhere - which was fine - that's what we were there for.
During and after the race there was quite a bit of clean up, but we had about 40-50 volunteers at our stop which made things move along pretty quickly. Also, our stop was toward the beginning of the race, so we were only there for about three hours from about 6:00-9:00 am. It wasn't an all morning event by any means. However if you help out at one of the later stops, it obviously takes a while longer, but it's worth it. If we don't have a race scheduled this weekend next year, I'm sure we'll volunteer again ... and I would encourage everyone to do the same at a local race when they have the chance - it's a very rewarding experience.
... be great today!