Monday, 3 November 2014

Volunteering

I volunteered at the Auckland Marathon registration on Thursday from 11 to 2.30, on Friday from 9.30 to 2.30, and on race day (Sunday) from 6.30 until about 1.15.  I had the BEST TIME!  It was crazy busy but sooooo much fun!  You start to feel like a broken record - you're repeating the same information over and over to all the participants at registration, and congratulating everyone left right and centre after they've finished their event, but it is such a good feeling being there to help people, knowing they appreciate your time and effort.  I must've said 'thank you' about a million times over the past several days.  I was on timing chip collection in the finish chute and saw the whole gamut - marathoners, half-marathoners, 10km and 5km runners/walkers, and all the kids doing their 2km run to finish off their marathons (which they complete over a month or two through their school, doing cross country running etc).  Some people were bummed that they didn't achieve their goal time, others were elated that they'd run a PB, and many were just so relieved and happy to finish!!  I saw some tears (happy mostly), people injured but determined to finish, one guy alternating between dry-retching into a bin and collapsing on the ground for about 20 minutes (he refused medical help), a few people completing their 100th marathon, and kids whose parents had been so obsessive about attaching their timing chip to their shoes it took a good five minutes to get them off!  Crazy ;)

I missed most of the people I knew who were running in the events, the finishing area was absolute chaos for most of the morning.  I did get to see Martin after he finished though, met a fellow Instagrammer (thearcherygeek) and saw a lady I'd been working with on Thursday at the half marathon registration desk.  

We were instructed not to remove timing chips from shoes ourselves (otherwise we'd end up stuck down there all morning doing the same for everyone) but many people were just so exhausted or sore that you kind of felt like you had to.  I would've felt bad making them do it themselves.  I must've removed at least 30 or 40 tags myself.  I was a little miffed at the few people who commented, in a not so nice way, that it should be done for everyone.  I understand their point of view, and this would be fine for a smaller event, but when you're dealing with tens of thousands of finishers it's really not practical.  Not to mention that if you were crouched down removing chips from 8.30 to 1 your back would be pretty stuffed by the end of it!

I also got a snarky look from a lady when I asked her and her group of five to move on from the chairs they'd been sitting in for the last 15 minutes to make way for other finishers.  She wasn't impressed.  I'm guessing she was a little oblivious to the fact that hundreds of people were filtering through and needed the seats, because she and her friends were too busy having a good old catch-up and chatting about the race.  Marathoners were actually standing around and waiting for seats so they could sit down and remove their chips, knowing they wouldn't be able to bend down without falling over.

And OMG the shambles when the kids started coming in - anxious parents everywhere, too impatient to wait until the kids had filtered through the finish chute.  We'd been warned about this (last year the hordes of parents actually broke the fencing!!) but nothing could prepare you for the mayhem that ensued.  Luckily that was fairly short-lived, since all the kids finished at around the same time, and we could return to regular-level adult chaos ;)

Crazy fun, exhausting, inspiring, sad, happy, frustrating, hilarious, entertaining (some of the costumes! Wow!)...  All the feels.  I would happily do it all over again.  Although next year I think I'd like to help at registration and then spectate for race day - I want to make a crazy sign and cheer like a mad woman, giving out high fives to everyone.  It will be awesome :)

1 comment:

  1. Good on you for volunteering! I think I'd love it too, and hope to do it one day - it's just finding the right event that I don't want to enter! This one timed well with your (ultra)marathon recovery.
    I looked out for you but there was So Many People!
    How is your calf doing?

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