It’s race weekend again! But this weekend, I’m not racing, I’m volunteering at Iron Girl Columbia. This was my first “big” triathlon four years ago (I started triathlon with a beginner super sprint, but this was my big race.) While I love the race, I couldn’t fit it in last year with 70.3 training, and I was really disappointed to not be out cheering. So this year, I was determined to volunteer. I even had it figured into my summer race plan so that I didn’t accidentally schedule something over it.
I admit, when I got the details of my volunteer gig and realized I was going to have to leave my house before 4am, I wondered exactly what I was doing. That’s earlier than I’ve left for my last few races! That’s earlier than I got up for my most recent race! There was a time in my life when I was still awake at 4am. (Now I’m often in bed before 9.)
But it’s still worth it.
Volunteers are the most important part about racing, and I say this not because I’m volunteering this weekend, but because I’ve been the beneficiary of many volunteers during my racing career. Handing out cups of water, pointing athletes on where they should go, offering a smile or a high five, these are all so important when you’re racing, and especially when you’re struggling. So this year, I wanted to give back and volunteer more.
Iron Girl Columbia is an especially fun race to volunteer at because of all the newbies. There’s nothing like seeing the smile on someone’s face when they make it out of the swim or cross the finish line that they’ve worked so hard to get to.
I’ll be all over the course on Sunday, at transition doing body marking (I’m packing my headlamp), at swim finish, and probably somewhere on the run course. My shift officially ends at 9:30, but I’m planning to stay out there through the end of the race. So if you’re racing, look for me.
And if you haven’t ever volunteered at a race before, go do it! It’s so worth it.