As a frequent runner of races of all distances, I owe so many thanks to race organizers, but most importantly the volunteers that make them happen.
Races can’t happen without volunteers. It takes a team, and most of those folks you see out on the course handing out water, medals, bibs, etc., are all there volunteering their time. Recently posted on Facebook, I’ve seen the call for volunteers for three upcoming races. The Asheville Marathon at Biltmore Estate on 3/16, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Raleigh on 4/13, and the Ironman Raleigh 70.3 on 6/1 are all in search of volunteers. Sometimes races can require hundreds and hundreds of people to make a race happen.
I was recently asked by the race director for RunRaleigh Racing to pace her Half Marathon this coming October. I gladly accepted! This is the best way for me to volunteer for a race. Yes, being a pacer at an event is the same as being a volunteer. It’s really the perfect way for me to give something back to my fellow runners and community. I would much rather give of my time on the race course while running it, versus being at a water stop or handing out medals.
My first pacing experience was last Fall. Not sure if I would like doing it, or the pressure of finishing at a predetermined pace, I agreed. I ran the Bull City Race Fest as a 1:45:00 pacer in the a Half Marathon, and loved every minute. Right then, I knew I would have to pace more events. My consistency in training and race finish times makes me a great candidate, so I will volunteer my time more in this way. The race this Fall that I will pace is the Rock ‘n’ Rebellion 13.1. Once again, I will pace the 8 minute mile group.
I much prefer racing events that benefit local or national charities, versus a for profit race. RunRaleigh Races is local, and proceeds from races benefit local charities, which is a great thing. So, unless I am asked to pace an event before the Fall, the event on 10/5 will be my next pacing experience. I was asked to pace at the marathon for the a Utah Valley race this June, but I just can’t afford the expensive round trip airfare. If travel expenses were provided, I would have loved to pace that event. We will see what other opportunities present themselves in the coming months.
I urge all runners to give back to the community in some way. Use your abilities and time to help others. Volunteer at an aid station, help set up mile markers, work an expo table, hand out medals, or be a pacer. Races are more successful all around if they have enough volunteers to aid in the runner experience.