The other week I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to volunteer for the Expo as I had signed up months ago, but I followed through with my commitment and I’m so glad that I did!
The volunteer organizers were incredibly accommodating and switched my assignment from goodie bags to ID check – the only seated volunteer position – so I wouldn’t be on my feet on the crutches all afternoon. It was a fun spot to be because you were basically the first line of interaction most of the runners had with marathon personnel or volunteers. I loved welcoming people from all over the world, and learning a little bit about their story. When you think about it, there are 45,000 stories running through New York City on marathon day. Each person has been through a long, and often grueling, journey to get to the start line. I welcomed locals from down the street (one guy I helped actually lives on 1st Ave so his friends and family were going to hang out at his apartment to cheer him on), and runners from Europe, Asia and South America. One woman in particular, broke my heart as she had to cancel her registration and defer because of a torn muscle. She had made the trip from France. And I felt a bit nervous for the people who showed up to the expo with less than an hour left and their luggage in tow. I would be a nervous wreck in that situation. I hope they got some rest before the morning! Overall though, people had smiles on their faces and were appreciative for the warm welcome. I doubt any of the runners will remember me, but I felt like I was playing a part in their marathon experience and I appreciate that immensely.
Throughout the afternoon, I was able to catch up with some friends – both old and virtual! And that’s always fun! In particular, fellow bloggers Molly and Amanda were in town and we made plans to meet up at the Expo. Molly was in town to run the marathon (Congrats on an awesome finish, lady!) and Amanda (fellow Team Oiselle runner!) was here for a Birthday celebration weekend! While I wish we could have chatted longer, it was so great to meet them in person!
I admit I was absolutely exhausted by the time I got home (although I’m sure that the fact it took me nearly a half hour to get a taxi), but I am so glad I was able to volunteer. I love the excitement and production of the expo, seeing all the people, emotions, great races, charities and companies in attendance, pro-athletes galore, and experts giving last minute advice. Everyone is there with one thing on their mind: The ING NYC Marathon.
Speaking of the marathon – what a women’s race, right? Firehiwot Dado pulled out an awesome win after Mary Keitany was on a record pace for most of the race. I was kind of pulling for Buzunesh Deba to win, as she’s been living in the Bronx for 6 years, but her 2nd place win was stellar! And a men’s course record was set by Geoffrey Mutai!! And even though Meb finished sixth, he still set a PR! The weather was gorgeous and it was a great day for running in the city! I hope ALL the runners had a fantastic time and are feeling great today! Whether you met your goal or not, just getting out there and tackling 26.2 is amazing. You did something absolutely incredible and you should be so proud! Hope you enjoyed your tour through NYC!
- Did you run a race this weekend? NYC, Savannah, or another? What was your favorite part of your race?
- What’s the best encouragement sign you’ve seen while running or spectating?