A Volunteer Runner


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.

Destination Marathons USA


The January 2014 Runner’s World came out this week, and I just had to check out the Top 10 list they published on fun filled, recently launched marathons across the US.  I have only been running the marathon distance for two years, so I haven’t really delved into big time destination racing.  Yet!

Looking at their picks, a few really stand out, and already have been on a wish list of mine for race travel.  I have a top 3 based on the list of top 10.

#1. Utah Valley Marathon. –  I have never been to Utah, so this would be a great reason to visit.  The Provo Canyon Scenic Byway is supposed to be beautiful, and it’s always nice to have scenery on a long 26.2 mile journey.  The main attraction though?  The course is mostly a gentle descent.  A net elevation change of 1,700 feet down from the start.  What a great way to try for a BQ time!


#2.  Vancouver USA Marathon. –  Any trip to the pacific northwest is ok in my book, and even better if running a marathon.  I spent a fair amount of time vacationing to Washington State mostly, when I was younger.  I have spent some time along the Columbia River, and Portland, with a trip or two to Mt. Hood.  The area is just beautiful, so for that reason alone I want to run this marathon one day.  The course is flat and scenic, two more good reasons to run it.


#3.  Santa Barbara Marathon. –  Ah… A trip to California to run a marathon?  Yes, please.  I have had my eye on this one the past two years, and have even looked into flights.  Hasn’t worked out the past two years, but this one will be on my calendar soon.  A November race, great temperatures, and running along the Pacific Coastline.  All sounds great to me.


If only my wallet were bigger, or I were to come across a small fortune!  So many wonderful races across America that I want to run someday.  Not to mention those abroad.  I would love to travel to Australia for a marathon.  Paris perhaps…  How about the Athens Marathon, or a marathon in South Africa.  Would love to do them all one day.

For now I will remain focused on getting to some interesting and highly rated races closer to home.

I have run one marathon that did make the Runner’s World top 10 already.  In 2012, I ran the Tobacco Road Marathon, which is in Cary, NC.  It’s about 20 miles from my home.  Honestly, I wasn’t thrilled with the race at all.  It is mostly flat, but extremely boring.

Have you run any of the races that made the top 10 list?  Here is a full listing…

The Louisiana Marathon

Tobacco Road

Illinois Marathon

Pittsburgh Marathon

Minneapolis Marathon

Utah Valley

Vancouver USA Marathon

Rockfest Marathon

Indianapolis Monumental

Santa Barbara Marathon

If you’ve run any of these marathons, please comment and let me know what you thought about your experience.

Happy running!