Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Volunteering at a Race

At the beginning of the year I shared my 19 goals for 2019. You may be surprised, but not all of them are running related (although, #RealTalk, I do have a handful of those too). I have goals that include everything from learning to French braid and attending four concerts to being able to do three pull-ups and mailing at least four cards (via snail mail) a month.

One of the goals I set for myself was to volunteer six times in 2019. A few weeks ago I posted about the first volunteer opportunity I had this year - where I went to a camp and helped cook meals for 200+ high schoolers for a long weekend

Today I am sharing about the second.

Last week a friend of mine asked if the hubby and I were available on Saturday, March 16th. I looked at my calendar and surprisingly we were free. She wanted to know if we would be willing to help at an aid station for a local race, the Ramblas Run. The trail race offers a 5K (a standard one and one specific for youth), 10K and Half Marathon. She was manning the Harbor Saddle Aid Station at Mile .7 and 2.7 {there is a loop the runners take, hence coming back to the aid station a second time} and was looking for more volunteers. I checked with the hubby and he was in! 

The game plan was to meet at the race around 7:30am, which meant we needed to leave the house a little before 7. (The trail was about 30 minutes north of us, but since I wasn't 100% certain about the parking situation I figured I'd give us a little extra time and we left the house around 6:50am. We got there in plenty of time!) 

Still wearing our jackets since it was about 45* outside

We met the crew at the finish line and walked  to our aid station about .75 miles away (on the walk there I could already tell I was thankful to be volunteering instead of running because the course seemed tough with quite a bit of elevation gain!). All of the supplies were already there for us, we just had to hike ourselves there and get everything set up.

Always stoked when the hubby is willing to come along for the adventure! 

There were two different start times, with the Half starting at 8:45am and the 5K/ 10Ks starting at 9:30am. That gave us plenty of time to get the aid station set up (pre-pour some water and electrolyte cups, cut up oranges, pour pretzels and potato chips in bowls, open up the cookies, pump up the jams for a mini dance party, etc).

The dark mass on the horizon is Catalina Island!

The views from our spot were pretty spectacular. Flowers a plenty and the trails were covered in lush greenery (which is not the norm in this dusty area). The sky was clear and you could even see Catalina Island between the hills.

Where we were located on the course was a little hectic, but we helped the runners as best as we could. (All three distances came through our aid station twice. They got to us at Mile .7, then did a 2 mile loop and hit us again at Mile 2.7, then the Half Marathoners and the 10K'ers veered off and continued their race, while the 5K'ers went back the way they came originally. It was easy to direct everyone from around 8:50am till 9:35am, because we knew they were all half marathoners and needed to continue through, but then once the shorter distance runners started coming {and there were still half marathoners in the mix} we really had to be vocal about where everyone needed to go.)


It's been rather mild here in SoCal lately (not to mention the rain we have been getting recently), so it was a bit surprising when it started warming up quickly. Thankfully we had plenty of hydration and fuel to keep the runners chugging along. (And hopefully our encouragement and running tunes kept them motivated to charge the rest of their race!)


Around 10:45am everyone had come through our aid station so we were able to break everything down and call it quits. It was awesome being able to give back to the community and hang out with some of my Orange County running friends.

Some amazing trail running, ultra OC mommies!

On the way home we made a quick pit stop at the SoCal Adventure Vehicle Show and then made our way back to Oceanside. Unfortunately, seeing as it felt like summer out, the summer traffic was already out in full force and our drive which should have taken us about 25 minutes took over 90! And, of course the hubby slept through most of it ;)

Friends joke that falling asleep in the car might be the hubby's super power...
I don't disagree with this assessment... 

Have you ever volunteered at a race before?

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