A couple weekends ago I did my (frequent race participant) runner duty and volunteered at the Minnesota Half Marathon. It’s put on by Podium Sports Marketing as part of their Minnesota Run Series. I figured since I’ve already run three of the races in the series this year (and two last year) and am registered for two more I may as well volunteer at one of the two remaining races!
This race was unique in that not only was it a half marathon (and half relay and 5K)for runners, there was also a half marathon wave for inline skaters! The way the course was set up, the finish line was sort of in the middle of two out and back stretches. So about 20 minutes after the pro-skaters took off, we watched them fly back in the other direction past us, drafting off one another, looking like they were giving each other supportive pushes. Related: THAT’S how you half marathon. On wheels. With someone pushing you.
Also, yes, pro-inline skating is still a thing. I had no idea!!
I signed up to be a course marshal, since I have experience doing that at the Twin Cities Marathon last year. Once I got to the site, however, there wasn’t a need for a marshal since the entire race was on one road with no turns other than two turnaround points. I was put at the finish line instead.
This ended up being an awesome placement! I was basically put in charge of all the medals! I had to take them out of their individual baggies, then hang them on the cart for easy access for the other volunteers to hand them out to the racers.
Since I was working the cart and the unboxing, I didn’t get a chance to hand too many out to the racers, but I did manage to give some to some of the later finishing skaters. Meaning I very well may have given a medal to Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter without knowing it. Claim to fame? Yep, counting it!
Once all the racers were done, I helped with the tear-down. I was even given the privilege of driving the golf cart! EXCITING!
At the end, I got to take home a couple medals for the kiddos, and I got a race shirt as a thank you.
I’ve got to say, I really enjoy the work that Podium does. I’ve run lots of their races at this point and have never had a bad experience. Working as a volunteer gave me the behind the scenes look at how much work goes into these races. Everything moved smoothly and with purpose. Everyone there had a job and they did those jobs well. The event went off without a hitch (I think) and that’s completely due to the workers and the volunteers.
The next time you’re at a race, be sure to thank the volunteers! Without them you’d be lost, have no water, and would have to dig through a tiny box to find your medal!