Wednesday, January 28, 2009

volunteering and pacing Jan10@Bandera

This year for the Bandera 50 and 100k I decided to help Joe and volunteer as much as I could. Which was very little compared to what many other folks do to put on a race like this. I helped with tent set up on Thursday, was asked to help at check in on race morning and worked with Paul at the Chapas aid station. We as runners arrive at the race expecting signs, flags, glow sticks, and aid station tents to be on the trail, not really realizing how much work it takes to set these up. Joe,Crash,Henry,Mike,Mark,Joyce,Diana, and MANY others do this with such passion.
And on race day I felt a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction being able to help runners as they came through the aid station. I met new people, as is usually the case at these trail runs. Enjoyed socializing with and congratulating friends post race.
I helped pace my good friend Liza (last 15 miles of her 100K), to a second place finish!
Pacing can be very rewarding. But also can be a little nerve racking. Don't let your runner feel this from you though. You've got to try to keep your runner motivated, entertained, and happy. You must be careful not to distract them from the task at hand and bore them with your banter.
So, I feel you must constantly ask your runner what they want and need. Make them feel like they are in charge. Be there for them. It's a delicate balancing act.
After all the runners come in, revel in finishing their race, admire their medals and head for home, Joe and the race volunteers still had to tear down the course, the tents, gather the trash, pack it all up, and lug it home.
Thanks to all who help at putting on such great events.

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