Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Joseph Fund 5k: Volunteering

I'm almost ashamed to say that in all of my years of racing, I've never once volunteered at a race.  I've spectated and cheered on runners, both strangers and friends, but I've never signed up to officially volunteer.

So when a fellow runner from Who's Up? e-mailed the group about an upcoming race he was putting on at the Cooper River, I jumped at the chance.   He and Dave Welsh, owner of the Haddonfield Running Company, had spent the last few months working with a group of students at a middle school in Camden to train for a 5k.  Once or twice a week they came to the school to do running drills with the students and coach them through the process of training for a specific race.  The idea was to promote a healthy lifestyle and community through running and goal setting.  Race day (Sunday April 23rd) was to be a celebration of their training and all the hard work they put in.

A lot of people from Who's Up? came out to run the race alongside the students from Camden, but because race day was only 6 days after Boston, I decided to volunteer instead of running.  I also dragged my son, Neale, along with me.

Long story short, I wasn't able to drive to the Cooper River, so I had to walk nearly three miles with a thirty pound toddler in tow at 6:30 in the morning to make it there in time.  When we got there, I was put on T-shirt duty.  I set out race shirts on the table, then organized the large box of tech shirts for the Camden students.  Race shirts were not included with registration for this race, so I then handled donations from people who wanted one.

For the rest of the time I stood behind the table directing people to the starting line or answering any questions I could.  After the race I helped fill water for finishers.  Neale helped hand out T-shirts and tried to fill cups with water, but was mostly interested in running around and petting the many dogs that showed up.

It was an amazing day for a race, and between the students, participants in the 5k and participants in the 1 mile fun run, there were about 200 runners out there.  There was a definite sense of pomp and circumstance for the students to celebrate their hard work.

It was great to see this inaugural event go so well, and I hope it becomes a fixture in both Camden and our own running community.

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like such a fun event for the kids. I have to admit, I haven't volunteered a lot. The couple times I did the weather was horrible. I need to get out there and give back more.


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