Each year early July brings about an event I have participated in for the last three years, the Midnight Madness 50 Miler in Tulsa, Ok. This year was the third year for the event but I took part in a completely different way this time around. Rather than take part as a runner I helped man an aid station for about four hours before heading out on the course to pace a friend.
This is something I think every athlete should do at some point. You gain a new appreciation for the volunteers, you get to see all of the participants, and you get to make new friends.
As the runners came in the main thing to do was simply see if you could help them in any way; fill up their bottles, make a sandwich, give them a chair, pretty much whatever they asked for. Every one of them was friendly, some were in good spirits while others needed a little pep talk.
Every event is made possible through the hard work of many volunteers. People who help with the set up, the tear down, and the timing of the event. Some are behind the scenes and probably not even seen by the participants. But they are vital. Without the help of volunteers we would not have so many options in our sport and those that remained would cost us more.
So look around locally. See where you can step in and volunteer. This was my second time to volunteer but it will not be the last.
Help keep your sport growing and thriving. Go volunteer. And next time you see a volunteer, thank them.
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