Race for Free (and The Other Side of Things)

I spent my morning on the other side of a race!




My alarm went off way before dawn, at 4:40 am. I was heading out to the Baldwin Park Triathlon to be a volunteer.


Why did I get up so early to volunteer at a race?!?!


I volunteered my time this morning in return for getting a race credit! Next time that I want to do a Buttar race, I get to do it for free! Pretty sweet deal if you ask a poor college kid if you ask me!  Races are expensive! For example, today’s sprint tri was in the neighborhood of $85!


I left my apartment so early that I was barely hungry. I packed an English Muffin with almond butter + banana to eat on my drive over.




I arrived at the check in at 5:15 and headed out to fill water containers. I had to take pictures with my iphone (no flash) so they are kind of blurry.




The race was short volunteers, so I was left to man the first water station alone. YIKES!




I set up the table, full of gels and cups.I set out tons of pre-filled water cups in hopes that there would be enough for everyone…





The first biker came around the corner only 19 minutes after the race started. That means he somehow managed to swim 750m, run to the transition, and bike a mile in that short amount of time!




My station was for runners (the third leg) so I had a bit of time to watch and cheer for the bikers as they were zooming by. It was hard to scream for everyone!




The bikers had to do 5 laps around the lake, so I kept seeing the same people over and over.




By the time the runners started coming, I could barely keep up with the water cups. I really could have used a second person at the station with me!


I ran out of filled cups in a matter of minutes! I was supposed to use the water spout to fill water out of the cooler, but it wasn’t working fast enough!




I ended up taking 2-3 cups in each hand and dunking them into the cooler of water to pass them out. Gaaaaaah!


The bulk of the runners had gone through the station, and I was left with cups and trash everywhere.




I usually crush my cup before I throw it when I am at races…




…but I realized that it makes it MUCH easier on the volunteers if you DO NOT crush the cup. Crushed cups don’t stack!




Once the last runner went through my station, I packed it up. As soon as I got back to the starting line, I grabbed two oranges. It was so hot out, I needed the refreshment!




I spent another two hours helping to tear down the event.




You wouldn’t believe how much trash people left in the transition areas!




By the time I was released, I was starving! I treated myself to a Whole Foods Lunch.




I picked up a brown rice California roll and an Honest Tea. I REALLY wanted a Mango Acai flavor, but they were out. Peach Oo-la-long was a nice change, but not my favorite! Every time I took a sip I wished it was my beloved Mango Acai!




It was a really fun experience! I think that every runner or triathlete should volunteer at a race, at least once! I never realized how much work went into set up and tear down. People were rushing around behind the scenes and it was fun to see!


Next time, I would love to work the transitions. It was fun to hand out cups and motivate people with my shouts of “Girl! You are EPIC!” and “Come on, you can do it!” but I think that seeing the transitions would be really fun.


Have you ever volunteered at a race?  Would you ever consider volunteering at a race?


❤ MegaNerd