This past weekend a friend of mine and I participated in not one, but two events, on the same day, the Mercer Island Half Marathon and the Big Climb up Columbia Tower. Are we crazy!? Apparently we are. I did something very 'type A' runner like and compared the two results lists and cross referenced participant's names to see how many people did both. I was expecting about 20 or 30, nope, 4 of us in total! We are crazy!
The Mercer Island Half was amazing, the weather was perfect for the first day of Spring. One thing that really stands out for that race (from a race director's perspective) is the volunteer base. When I arrived at the expo the day before the race I was greeted with volunteers directing traffic, for an expo!? How great. As I was lucky enough to find a spot in the community center parking lot I was greeted by yet another volunteer at my car telling me where to go. When I arrived at the door I was then ushered down the stairs where I saw literally a wall of volunteers at the packet pickup tables. It was efficient, friendly and most of all it was the right number, plenty of supportive volunteers.
Then at the race itself there was practically a volunteer for every thinkable position. There was someone with a megaphone telling people where the start line was and how much time they had left to use the facilities, there was someone directing traffic, there was someone handing out water. On the course there was practically a volunteer at every intersection and at every wealthy driveway (which is quite a number on Mercer Island).
Kudos to Mercer Island's volunteers. Next time you see a volunteer at a race, tell them thank you, they are there early on a Sunday just to support you and your efforts. And, if you are injured or just taking it easy for the season, sign up to be a volunteer at a race, you will see all the efforts that go into planning these things. If you need a volunteer opportunity, we are still looking for volunteers for Good Karma 5K! Email us and let us know!
As for the Big Climb, well, what a challenge or organization, thousands of people, all racing at different times, in two different stairwells. Add in massages, donations, food, timing, gear check, volunteers, two separate recovery floors, waterstops, emotionally charged posters on every floor, and parking and you have a logistics nightmare on your hands! But the team at The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society always pulls it off with grace. Everyone around me was having a great time, despite the pain for the 15-20 minutes of the climb itself.
Most importantly for both these events, they each raised a TON of money for their respective charities. That is what I like to see the most.
Crazy or not, we both had a fantastic day, went home and ate all we could eat and then fell over, exhausted! What's next!?
Next I get to experience the biggest event I have ever participated in, the 40,000 runner Paris Marathon! Stay tuned for a full report, just have to get through my long run this weekend first!