If you ever want to be super inspired, volunteer for an Ultra.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of cheering on some badass runners for NYC's only official Ultra- The NYC 60K (formerly known as The Knickerbocker 60k). This race consists of 9 (!!!) loops of the middle loop of Central Park making up the roughly 37 mile race. What?! Yes. It's for real and it's pretty damn awesome. I was informed there was around 400 runners who showed up that morning. The race started at 8am, and when my shift started around 12:30pm, most runners were about 75% done. The winner had finished with around an 8 min mile pace; just to compare, marathon winners' paces are around 4 min miles.
The energy was a lot different than the last time I was in the park. A whole lot of tourists and a small amount of runners. There weren't that many cheering stations, but that didn't matter. These runners were having a blast! They didn't need all that. They interacted with us and always always had a smile on their face. It was quite inspiring. I made sure to clap every time a runner came by (which of course got fewer and fewer as the time went on) because I know how much the encouragement means to me, so I was all about it!
|I love this super clever design! Can you see why?!|
I'm really glad this was the race I decided to volunteer for. I don't think it would've been the same at a run of the mill 4 miler, but that might just be me. Ultra runners just seemed so much happier and more grateful especially to volunteers. Besides always acknowledging me, they all made sure to thank me for the support on their last lap. How great was that?
In case you're in the market for winter volunteering:
- Definitely layer. I wore my winter running gear under my clothes. In the beginning of the shift, I noticed I was a tad overdressed with my double pants, 3 shirts, a hoodie and a coat. And by tad, I mean I was sweating my ass off in the sun. But as the shift went on, I was very thankful for my layers and I even open my toe-warmers and stuck them in my shoes.
- Bring a bag. That definitely comes in handy. It can keep water, snacks and the shirt they will give you.
- Know where the bathrooms are! But if you run in the area (i.e. Central Park) you should already know where they are. I refuse to use a portapotty unless I'm running.
- Sunscreen! Even though it's cold, you'll still be outside for an extended period of time. Protect yourself!
What was your favorite volunteering experience?