First, I do apologize for seemingly walking off the blog! End of summer enthusiasm dragged me away from the computer.
And, then there was the Oakville Half Marathon on Labour Day Monday that got many of us up, out of bed, and on our feet before the sun rose…but napping on the couch by 3pm!
Thank you, thank you, to the many people who came out to the water station. If you’ve been in a race, you know how it lifts spirits to get water and Gatorade from enthusiastic volunteers.
For all the races I’ve walked and finish line cheering I’ve done, this was the first time I helped at a water station. Not only was it fun, but it was a good learning experience.
Here is some of what I learned:
1. If the weather is bad on race day, it would be better to be a participant than a volunteer. On bad weather races, I will ALWAYS thank volunteers as I go by.
2. It is MUCH trickier than you think to keep the road beside the water station clean. I vow to try to put my used cups in waste containers when possible or, at the very least, throw them to the side of the road.
3. It is really helpful when a participant calls out a request. Something like “water!” or “Gatorade!” That way they can be directed to those volunteers offering the beverage of choice. Also, it makes for exceptional “flow-through”, if participants point to the volunteer from whom they are planning on grabbing a cup. I vow to shout “water” or “Gatorade” and point to the happiest looking volunteer.
4. Never wear your favorite clothes to help at a water station. There appears to be a strange gravitational field between clothing and Gatorade. Corollary: if you don’t like sticky clothes, hand out water.
5. Noisemakers are fun. Noisemakers that require only one hand to create the noise are the best: one hand for noisemaking, one hand for passing out cups. A megaphone would also be great! All the better to cheer you with my dear!
Looking forward to the fall race season!
Lee thank you to you and the other WoW volunteers for manning not one but 2 stations. I don’t know about the other racers, but I can tell you it is great to come upon familiar and encouraging faces anytime but especially towards the end of the race at the 15K and 18K stations. Your written encouragement to all the WoW walkers doesn’t go without notice and I for one appreciate your effort.
This race was on the last holiday Monday of the summer which wasn’t great but I’m sure it kept some of us out of trouble! Looking forward to a great fall season of powerwalking.
Lee, you’re so inspiring, you make me want to volunteer – and I’m not a walker or runner! How does a non-participant sign up to help?
Great question! Most races have a website and listed on the contents bar is a place to find information on how to volunteer. On our “Upcoming Events” page on our website, many of the races that walkers attend are listed with their websites.
Keep your eye open at local stores for brochures from local races. Local races usually raise funds for a local charity and you could approach that charity to find out information about volunteer opportunities at the race.
Unofficial volunteering is also appreciated. That involves just standing at the side of the road along the race course to cheer on participants. You would need to have a map of the route and an idea of the start time to figure out where to be so that you will see race partipants (again, usually downloadable information from a race website).
I look forward to seeing you out there!
It was great to see all of the volunteers at both WOW water stations during the Oakville Half Marathon and 10 K race. The list of names that you wrote in chalk was motivation enough to get me through the last few km. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication to WOW walkers.