Giving Back

Filling a water bottle at W2C

Guest Blogger Alisyn Gularte

It’s no secret that I love to run. The pounding of the pavement, the sweat in my eyes, the excitement of reaching a new PR. With running there are no games, just me pushing the limits of what I never thought possible.

At four in the morning I wake for no other reason but to run the race of my life. Except lately, I have found another reason to wake up at such an unfriendly hour. To volunteer! Running has given me so much, why wouldn’t I want to give back to the community I love. I know when I volunteer at a race that I will be put to work. Setting up tables, tents, and signs, handing out bibs and T’ shirts, and filling up the runners water bottles as they fly by the aide stations. It might be demanding, but the energy of a race day event makes it all worthwhile.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and it certainly takes a community to put on a successful race event. As a volunteer, I might not be running, but I am surrounded by like minded people who share in my passion. Each and every person has a story to share, a super running power that stands them out from the rest, and of course running weaknesses as we swap stories of our running woes.

I recently volunteered at the Way Too Cool 50k. This was the third trail race that I volunteered at in a year. My day started at 5:30AM and ended at 2:00PM. I helped out in a number of ways including water support at the mile eight aide station. This is where I was able to cheer on those hardcore ultra runners. I was amazed at how many took the time to thank me for being there. I was touched, and a bit shocked even after the race when a few people came up to tell me how grateful they were for my cheers and support, as they went running by. While I left the race with no medal in hand, I did leave with the satisfaction that my small contributions made the race a memorable experience for those 600 plus runners.

Now, when I participate in races myself, I make sure to look each and every volunteer in the eye, smile and thank them for dedicating their time. After all, without the love and drive of the volunteers, there would be no race!

Have you ever given back to your running community by volunteering?

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