To the countless volunteers who have made it possible for us to compete in running, cycling, swimming and multi-sport races this season, the caffeinated athlete extends a heartfelt “Thank you”.
A Volunteer’s Work
It’s no small feat to gather, guide and direct the legions of volunteers each event requires. Starters, timers, judges, course marshals, aid station volunteers, gear checkers, and many other positions are often filled by people volunteering their time. Registration, set up and clean up efforts all require people offering their time to help things run smoothly. Thank you for giving of yourself so we can compete in safe, controlled and comfortable environments.
You stayed up late to key the last-minute registrations into the timing program. You got up early to make sure that registration was ready for the first arriving participant. You cut oranges into easily handled segments. You handed out swag bags and exchanged shirts for other sizes. You braved the cool temperatures on your paddleboard to assure our safety in the water.
You stood alone for hours pointing each of us the way to stay on course. Before anyone arrived you put up bike racks, barriers, pylons and signs. Then you took them all down and put them away for use at another race. You swept rocks and marked potholes to help us go fast and be safe. You marked the course with directional signs, mile indicators and warnings for motorists to share the road. You bravely stood in front of oncoming traffic hoping your fluorescent vest would be seen and respected. You called out the time to every runner who passed by of you.
You got sticky from your hand to you elbow holding out cups of Gatorade for people to grab while they ran by. You removed timing chips from every sweaty leg that crossed the finish line. You challenged yourself to see how closely you could make your stopwatch match the timing system. You held a clipboard for hours while recording results. You told me I was looking good when I’m pretty sure I wasn’t. You did all this and more for people you’ve never met. You made the event better.
The Racing Stops
Your words of encouragement, the countless cups of water, the confirmation of times and stopping of traffic mean so much more than our breathless ‘thank you’ can express. From the hearts of the competing athletes, you are our heroes. Without you, the show doesn’t go on. The racing stops. And we are left to train without reason, without goals, without confirmation that the hard work is worth it. So, once again I express my thanks. And on behalf of thousands of other competitors, we appreciate the time and the services you provide to help us do our best.
My Team Triumph
In preparing this post the caffeinated athlete came across this photo of a tremendous team of highly motivated, focused volunteers that deserve special mention. My Team Triumph does a great work because of those who joyfully give of themselves to benefit others. The mission of this organization is “To enrich the health and well-being of individuals with disabilities by fostering lasting, authentic relationships through the teamwork environment of endurance athletics.”
This team of angels, including my friends Debbie and Mara of the Southeast Missouri Chapter provide physical assistance so their captains can participate in endurance activities like runs, bike rides and triathlons. The relationships and trust they build through the process take volunteering to another level of human experience. The smiles on the faces of their captains speak volumes. Thank you for making our little part of the world a better place.