Sunday Runday and rather than lacing up to run this morning, I instead bundled up warm and packed my lawn-chair down to the local dog park where I’d signed up to volunteer to help out with the sixteen kilometre-long 5 Peaks Trail Race.
The 5 Peaks series is a race that I’ve tackled myself multiple times in the past, particularly the edition of it that happens to run through the trails of the dog park that is a five minute drive from my house.
This year, with a couple friends opting to run it and a couple others choosing to do their part for the local running scene and volunteer, I sided with the volunteer crew and held down a station about three kilometers into the course (and at the top of a grueling hill) waving runners around a detour and cheering them on by clapping until my hands were numb.
I admit I don’t volunteer often enough… though that frequency is greater than zero.
As simple as it is, even a little race like this one for a few hundred people took (according to the thank you email that came to my inbox this evening) seventy five volunteers, each working about six hours to make the race come to life.
I’ve plodded through many courses myself and waved and thanked hundreds (if not thousands) of volunteers who’ve stood beside intersections or manned water stations or handed out swag or helped me find parking for my vehicle.
It makes me realize that in a year where I’m still a little less than keen to run a heap of actual races, it might make a lot of sense to find ways to participate without sneakers and a bib and to bring that volunteer frequency number up a lot higher in relation to my finisher medal count.
It’s about keeping the sport strong and vibrant.
It’s about giving back to something that has given me a lot over the years.
And it’s a warm and fuzzy feeling all around, too.