All too frequently we get caught up in the planning and preparation to participate and finish a race. Our calendars quickly fill up with a busy and rewarding race schedule that will leave us exhausted and satiated with finisher medals and maybe even a belt buckle or two. As gratifying as they are, there are also other equally satisfying ways to be involved in trail running and racing without actually participating yourself.
Crewing is an incredibly validating way to support a friend or family member as they go after a personal goal. Don’t get the wrong idea though, it’s a lot of work. It’s not just about the two minutes or so the runner is in the aid station. You’ll spend hours driving, pulling drop bags, setting up the crew stop, and hopefully getting the right items and food together that will allow your runner to get in and out, perfectly prepared to move onto the next section. But for every bit of work and for every sleepless hour the reward for supporting someone you care about, to watch them go on and accomplish their goal, can be incredibly satisfying.
Pacing another runner is a big responsibility. You not only set the pace but often become the emotional support and motivation your runner may need to finish the race. You’ll give up sleep, run slower than you’re used to, and, if you’re lucky, get to hold your runner’s hair back as they throw up once or twice. But that moment when they cross the finish line when you know you played a role in that success, you will know it was all worth it.
Race volunteering offers a wide variety of options for being involved. Stuffing goodie bags, working packet pick up, helping setup and take down, being in charge of garbage, sweeping the course, or working an aid station are all awesome ways to be involved and are equally important. Find a local race, contact the race director, and enjoy the ability to help make an event something really special for a whole bunch of people. The race director can’t thank you enough.
TAUR members, Craig Lloyd, Matt & Alicia Williams, Kenzie Barlow, Chelsea Hathaway, Lane Bird, and a multitude of others volunteered at the Buffalo Run races last weekend on Antelope Island in Utah. For the third year in a row, they hosted the Elephant Head aid station, the busiest of all the aid stations. And as usual, it was an incredible time. This year we shot video and compiled a review that will provide special insight into the world of volunteering. Share with us in the Comments your experience volunteering!