Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Brooklyn Half: Volunteer Recap

Other volunteer posts: 
2012 NYC 60K

2AM is no joke, people. And it wasn't even for a runDisney event. As I was rolling out of bed, B was just rolling in. No kidding. Who goes to bed at 10PM on a Friday anyway?

I had stalked the subway schedule all Friday to figure out the best way to get to Prospect Park by 4AM. The 2:47AM L train was full of people still out. I'm used to getting on the train pre-long run with people still out, but those people are usually sleeping and done for the night. You could tell these people were just bar hopping. Wowsers. It was strange.

I made it to the volunteer setup at McNair Park. We started by setting up the corrals for the second wave. This year the race was so big there were 2 waves, black bibs (1st) and white bibs (2nd). Have you ever tried to carry a barricade from one side of the street to the other? Spoiler: It's hard. At least for me. . .and at 4AM. Once we got that done, we headed back to the volunteer tent to get instructions on what we would be doing. Each volunteer was going to be stationed at a corral making sure the correct runners got into the correct corrals.
Good Morning, Brooklyn Museum

Before any of that happened, I got pulled to make sure the runners were walking on the sidewalk instead of through the corrals- which little did I know, was harder than expected. Runners are stubborn and don't like to listen to direction. The portapotties were set up inside the corrals and it was hard to convince people that they needed to go to their specific corral to use them. It was also fun trying to convince people they needed to stay on the crowded sidewalk because the empty one lead to nowhere. Still confused as to why they'd think I was lying to them.

At this point, people were filing into their corrals, so I was assigned to one. Luckily, they put a security guard with me which was nice. There were only a handful of runners who hated me for not letting them in, so I consider that a win. Here's a tip, runners: If you want to break the rules, don't ask me if you can. If I catch you, just walk away like you're supposed to. You know better. I'm sure people got past me, but I tried. I'll admit it, I've tried to get into corrals I don't belong in- will I be doing it again? Probably not. 

It was pretty cool getting to see the end of the pack, if you will. A couple of runners were taking advantage of all the space to warm up some more. Others were jumping in the now empty portapotties. Once the last runner left, we started picking up the trash and moving the clothes to the side so that Goodwill could take them. Sadly, we never got gloves and I refused to use my bare hands, so I figured out a system of picking up the trash with the side of the bag and then putting it in. By the time we were done, the start line was being broken down and all the excitement of the race was officially on it's way to Coney Island.
Who's been up since 2AM and wearing an orange vest?!

Working the start line was fun, but I don't think anything will compare to working the finish line. Originally, I wanted to volunteer at the finish, but the logistics of getting to Prospect Park from my part of Brooklyn was enough to scare me away from going all the way to Coney Island. It looked like a lot of fun though. Can't wait to enjoy it next year. Thanks to volunteering, I'll get automatic entry to next year's race and I'll finally get to run through my favorite borough!!

My Volunteer Bling
As always, if you're a runner, you really should volunteer at a races often. I think everyone needs to do it to understand what actually goes on before, during and after a race in order for you to run it. You'll definitely have a new appreciation for it and hopefully thank a volunteer or two during your next race (if you don't already).

What do you think would be your favorite part of volunteering?
 

10 comments:

  1. I've volunteered for two races - a 10K and a Ragnar Relay. Both were a lot of fun. I LOVE cheering for racers. =)

    A special thank you to you - a friend of mine ran Brooklyn, and I'm sure she appreciated all the volunteers out there!!

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    1. Oh, those sound like they were a blast!

      No prob! I hope your friend had an awesome race. It felt like perfect running weather.

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  2. Abby, I love this post. I'm always torn about jumping corrals for a few reasons (despite the fact that someone who shall remain nameless loves to call me a Mary Poppins) and one is that it makes a volunteer's job harder. Also, I feel really badly about being in front of faster runners. There have been a couple of races like the DL Half where it was so jam packed that it was impossible to get to my corral, so I got in where I could.

    I'm going to have to volunteer one of these days. Maybe I'll volunteer for RnR Arizona in January.

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    1. I'm glad we feel the same way about the corral situation. But I feel like rD races are a different animal, everyone is slower and just having fun.

      You should! I volunteered for the RNR here doing packed pickup. It was fun! And the tshirt is usually cute!

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  3. I've only volunteered at a handful of races but have done package pickup (which I like), marshalling (its fun to cheer for the runners) and handing out medals (which is awesome!) Since I've run so many races myself it's really neat to be on the other side for a change and be the one to encourage everyone. This Saturday I am running my first ultra marathon but will be volunteering on Friday and at the other events (half, full, 5k, 10k) on Sunday. I can't wait!

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    1. So jealous of handing out medals- that's next on my list. I'm crossing my fingers for the next volunteering opportunity.

      An ULTRA?! You go, friend! I remember when you thought Goofy was going to be scary!

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  4. I am exhausted just thinking of 4 a.m. (and 2 a.m.!). But yay for you for volunteering! It is such a good way to experience the race from the other side.

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    1. Right?! I hadn't felt that tired in a long time!

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  5. Thank you for volunteering!! I ran that race and all of the volunteers were AMAZING!!!

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    1. No prob! Hope you had an awesome race!

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