Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Don’t forget to thank a volunteer

This weekend I had another first.

It was my first time volunteering at an event. I didn't sign up fast enough for the Danskin Tri so I decided I would volunteer since a bunch of my TEAMmates and other women I know from other aspects of life were racing that day. So I signed up to do packet pick-up the day before and Transition the morning of the race (@5AM!).

Handing out caps and shirts the day before was really fun. You got to see the whole gambit of athletes; from the elites who were pretty no nonsense, to the newbies who were overly concerned and tentative. The field at Danskin Seattle is around 5000 strong and IT WAS CRAZY. Bikes got racked the night before and they looked so peaceful and beautiful when I showed up at 5AM on Sun. The crazy thing that went much more unspoken than I thought it would was that there was a huge lightening storm. It was gorgeous but not what most people want to see before a lake swim.

I was worried for the athletes and a little worried for the race organizers/volunteers who I thought would have to deal with a quick change in plans.

People started arriving promptly at 5:30 but, since I had handed out caps I knew some of these women weren't scheduled to hit the water until nearly 8:30. I must say, working transition entrance is kind of boring. I didn't even realize the first waves had gone out until finally one (unfortunate) person had come to her T spot in the way back where I was. The size of the field meant that some elites were removing their stuff before some of the stragglers had even come out of the water.

All in all it was a neat experience. I will volunteer again but I think I want a more action packed spot, or at least one where I can see the athletes and do more than annoy them by asking to see their number. One of the standard pieces of advice from all of the running/triathlon websites and books I've read is to always be sure to thank a volunteer and I guess everyone else read that too! I got so much love from the athletes and everyone (overall) was in such great spirits.

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