Yesterday, I volunteered at a race for the second time, and it was my first time volunteering at a marathon! It was the Tobacco Road Marathon and Half Marathon, which started and ended in Cary, NC. George and I joined some other Raleigh Galloway runners to help man this water stop, which covered both sides of the trail for both the half and the full marathon. George and I actually took folding chairs for when we had a chance to sit for a minute, but we never did!! We arrived at the water stop around 5:45 AM to help set up, and didn't leave until after 1 PM! Long day on my feet, but I had a fun time working with the other volunteers, so the time went by pretty quickly.
I was surprised by the number of runners I knew (or knew of) in the races, between the Raleigh Galloway training group, church, Web 2.0 (Facebook, Athlinks, Twitter, etc), the North Carolina Roadrunners Club, and other ways. It was so much fun to be able to encourage both friends and strangers out there!
Theoretically, we saw everyone twice, as we were part of both the half and the full course, and our water stop was before AND after BOTH courses' turn-arounds. Sometimes it felt really congested to me, and I wondered if the runners noticed it, or if it was okay for them. Hopefully it was all good.
I saw a barefoot runner, a sock-only runner, and at least one pair of Vibran Five Fingers! Since I just finished the book Born to Run last week, it was interesting to see the barefoot running in action. I enjoyed the book well enough, but don't really buy into the barefoot running thing for myself at this point.
I left the water stop yesterday exhausted, but happy to have been part of something bigger than myself for a morning! I've run so many road races, and been at the back of soooo many packs, that I was glad I stayed with several other volunteers to cheer, encourage, and offer water to the last walker to pass.
Since then, I've been thinking that I definitely want to do another half marathon, but I think it'll be a while before I'm ready to do a 26.2. I have much, much work to do!