Saturday, August 10th was a big day for over 10,000 participants and hundreds of volunteers. It was the second annual Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon hosted in beautiful Vancouver, B.C, and I was lucky enough to be part of it.
The race filled up fast; it was already full to the brim with happy half-ers as early as May, and I found myself feeling disappointed that I hadn’t signed up sooner. But my disappointment quickly turned into an epiphany; this would be an excellent opportunity for me to do something I had never done before.
If I couldn’t run the race, I might as well volunteer.
I became a “voluncheer”, a role that I as a runner appreciate when I’m out there chasing miles. It’s your job to make sure that everyone participating in the race feels encouraged and motivated as they work through the course. And you get a race shirt, too!
The leaders at our check-in station were awesome and had a reusable tote bag for each person, filled with snacks like pistachios, Vega energy bars (mmm, chocolate!), mini water bottles, and even individual sized bags of candy! I was so thankful for those snacks on my bus ride to the ferry Sunday morning, that’s for sure!
6:45AM was the meeting time for course marshals. A group of eight of us were stationed in the same area, all at various points along the route directing runners where to go. The best thing about our location was that it was right at the point where road meets beach, on Beach Ave. The runners turned down a small hill and headed off towards Sunset Beach. It was beautiful! The majority of the course took place along the Seawall, so there’s no doubt that it was full of incredibly scenery to enjoy.
One of the best feelings you experience as a volunteer is pride after hearing runners thank you for volunteering. “Thank you!” and “Thanks for bein’ out here!” were phrases I heard a lot while out on the course, and I couldn’t help but beam as I cheered for the runners whizzing past me. Whenever I’m running a race, I always try to make a point of thanking the volunteers along the route, or at least waving with acknowledgement to them if I’m not in earshot.
Knowing what it feels like to be on both sides of the road makes me appreciate the general culture of road races. Sure, the best part is actually running the race, but there are different strokes for different folks, right? And with opportunities like “voluncheering” on the docket, there’s room for everyone for be involved. It’s all part of being in the running community. I am so fortunate that I was able to volunteer my time and enjoy such a fun event! Lululemon, you guys know how to run things right!
Featured images taken by Holly Douglas.