Awhile back, I learned that volunteering at an Evergreen Trail Run earns you a free entry. Of course, given my thrifty ways (and of course, my altruism???) I’ve wanted to volunteer with them for some time now!
I saw a request on Facebook saying that they needed some volunteers for the Taylor Mountain run, and decided that this was my opportunity to make the dream a reality. I emailed the race director, and got signed up for the race.
A few days before the race, I was contacted by the volunteer coordinator to confirm when I was supposed to be on duty. I was assigned to be at the race from 6am-11am; I was told I would receive further instructions when I arrived.
I arrived and was super impressed with the organization and the trail running culture!
My jobs were quite varied: I checked people in, handed out race numbers, sold t-shirts, marked down times as runners came in, directed runners on the proper course to follow, set up post-race food, ran to the store for ice and soda, and delivered ice and soda to the aid station.
I’ve volunteered at several races in the past, and this was the first time that I felt that I was used to my full capacity and had a volunteer coordinator nearby to help me when there were problems. It was really great! When you volunteer at a race, people (of course) direct their questions to you. The problem with this is that as a volunteer, you know nothing other than what you were specifically trained to do. For example, a common question is, “Where’s the next aid station?” It’s a simple enough question, but your average volunteer does not study the course map prior to showing up for volunteer duty. This leads to a problems, as often, there is no one to help out with answering such questions. This was not the case at the Taylor Mountain Race. When I was asked questions, I was actually able to direct people to someone to answer their questions! It was great!
The other thing that was great about the race was how very nice everyone was. I saw TONS of tantrums when I volunteered for check-in at the CHARITY Girls on the Run. I saw NO tantrums when I worked check-in at the Evergreen Trail Race. Sometimes I was unable to find a participant on the registration list. None of them were rude to me when this was a problem. Sometimes runners had simple requests such as, “Are there any pitchers of water?” When the answer was “No,” they just shrugged their shoulders and waited in line for the water cooler. Trail runners apparently chat on the trails and give each other high fives. Trail runners are just plain nice!
I would totally recommend volunteering at an Evergreen Trail Race!
What do you think? Are trail runners nicer than road runners? Have you had to deal with tantrums when you were volunteering at a race?