That Time I Volunteered at a Race

11 Nov

Today was the 37th running of the Stockade-Athon 15K, a race I was hoping to run in as a follow up to my first half-marathon. Thanks to the Mysterious Foot Injury, I had to pass. I volunteered instead so that I didn’t have to miss out on the experience entirely.

Stockade-Athon is a very competitive race, as many professional and nationally ranked runners take part in it. What’s really neat about it is that most of these elite runners are from New York. The men’s record is 44:39 and the women’s is 51:34. That’s pretty fast considering national records are 42:22 and 47:15, respectively. It’s not an easy course, either. It winds around Schenectady’s historic neighborhoods and parks and includes some long climbs. They changed the course this year so it was interesting to hear runners comment on that after finishing.

Now on to what it was like to volunteer… Compared to actually racing, it was pretty lame not bad. As I headed into the event area, I couldn’t help but feel a little yearning for that pre-race excitement and I was a little envious of everyone warming up.

20121111-182617.jpgVolunteers got highlighter green Brooks performance shirts. Nice addition to my brights collection!

When I got to the finish line, my assigned area, I met another woman who volunteered due to an injury as well. It was nice to have someone to chat with while we waited around. Turns out she also had a stress fracture (in her tibia) and her husband was running today. He came in at about 1:09:xx.

20121111-182628.jpgFinish line, just after the start went off

As volunteers, we received little to no direction, so we did a lot of standing around and looking for people who could tell us what to do. We eventually just joined the crew of people prepped to hand out water bottles to finishers. I enjoyed seeing people finish, which is something you don’t get to do when you’re busy running. I got to check out some cool running shoes and gear as well as see the variety in athletes and ability.  It was sort of like a parade, only with the down side of witnessing more than a fair share of drooling, dry-heaving, and snot rocketing. One thing I do want to look into is buying myself a running skirt…

20121111-182637.jpgSome of the elite men gathered just after crossing the finish line

I was impressed with how many people finished under 60 minutes. They each got a big sticker for their accomplishment. USATF official results are not posted yet, but the women’s record may have actually been broken today!

20121111-182645.jpgBrooks Recovery Zone. I took this picture because I thought the mats, rollers, and other gadgets were really cool. The MHR Marathon and Half should have this…I’ll be sending in my suggestion card.

Of course, I can’t quite predict my race goals for next year yet, but as of now I am planning to enter the 38th Stockade-Athon. Hopefully, I can cross the finish line next year instead of handing out water on the sidelines!

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