I’ve always believed that if you love something, you should give back to it. I think this spirit of volunteerism came from my mother. I remember being really small – about 8 – and we did a food drive around Thanksgiving time. My mother loved the holiday and wanted to make sure that everyone could have a Thanksgiving. My mother taught me many things, including my core values some of which are embodied in that food drive:
if you can do something, do it
if you can give something, give it
if you love something, figure out a way to give back to it.
I am loving triathlon, so when the opportunity came up to volunteer as a marshall, I took it.
World Championship Series Triathlon hits Hyde Park – 24-25 July 2010
People asked on the day why I volunteered.
The answers I gave varied.
“Well, it is all a matter of gaining experience. I’d like to volunteer at the Olympics and this is experience building to help me to get a role.”
“I like to see hot triathletes in tri suits. The views can be rather nice!”
“I want to see the pros race – and to help to make this a great race for them.”
The pros on the bike course – yep, saw them for all of 1 minute I reckon!
But why did I really volunteer?
I volunteered because I wanted to give something back – to triathletes and to triathlon. I wanted to stand on the course ALL DAY LONG and cheer on athletes who were LIVING THE DREAM. I wanted to support the people who make the sport GREAT. I wanted to give back to the broader COMMUNITY that I am a part of now.
Laura aka @Adventure_Miss on the run course
I wanted to cheer each and every runner as they went past me. I wanted to cheer for my friends and clubmates, be cheeky, clap and encourage folks.
I just wanted to give back.
Just like the volunteers on every triathlon I have done. The folks who have encouraged me to go up the last hill at the Rush Triathlon. The army guys on the Blenheim course who sang the Rocky theme tunes on the bike course. The aid station volunteers who smiled and said “you’ve got this” on the London run course.
I wanted to be one of those volunteers. The kind that makes the race just that much more fun, just that little bit easier.
A volunteer whose smile could uplift, whose cheer could make the next step do-able.
Maybe it sounds strange, but I just knew that if I could give a little bit of my spirit to everyone who went past me, my Sunday would have been well spent. Worthwhile.
Call it “banking karma” for another day. Or maybe just call me a cheezy American who never quite lost the cheerleader instinct.
That is how I spent Sunday. On my feet, cheering every single runner who passed me, clapping for 6 and a quarter hours solid.
Marshalling was such a great experience. I think I must have cheered on over a thousand people. It was exhilerating. Super fun. Something I will definitely do again.
The best part? There were so many…
Maybe it was joking around with the runners – they did four laps, so that meant I saw folks four times. Four opportunities to crack smiles and ham it up with the whoever was up for it. Time to tease my swimming buddies.
Maybe it was high fiving athletes as they passed me on their last lap.
Maybe it was the coolness of seeing over a thousand people as they neared the race finish.
Maybe it was just the excitement I felt knowing I would be racing in two weeks time.
Or maybe the best part was the guy who gave me a hug and a kiss on his last lap! I though that stuff only happened in movies – Mr White Tri-suit Guy, you turned gave my Sunday a cinematic-like ending!
I reaped so much in return for my hours of volunteering.
Thanks to all the racers for letting me add to and be a part of your race experience. Ok, maybe you didn’t have a choice – you were stuck with me the crazy cheering American marshall on your run course – but thank you nonetheless.
And here’s to racing in two weeks – look out London Triathlon marshalls, I’m ready and waiting for your love! Woo Hoo!