Thank you Volunteers!!!

There was a moment that really stood out to me last Sunday, right after the fifth wave went off, when I hurried back toward the registration area to help load the van with registration materials and hustle over to the finish line.

Except that I couldn’t help. Because it was all done. From my perspective, it was like magic. It just happened.

I often say that this race doesn’t happen without volunteers, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

Let’s take a look at the various “jobs” that we had to take care of, shall we? While my recap of the race is a look at the event from the runner’s perspective, this is what “backstage” of Paine to Pain looks like:

Updating web site (both tech and copy)
Designing shirt
Distributing shirts
Designing medal
Distributing medals
Planting/removing signs
Online registration
In person registration
Making wave assignments
Designing and ordering bibs
Banner/sign purchases
Setting up start/finish line banners
Staffing finish line medical station
Ordering tents and tables (start and finish)
Placing tents and tables
Manning intersections
Organizing close to 200 volunteers
Data analysis to determine in August how many will show in October
Creating income statement
Writing checks and tracking invoices/payments
Finding restaurants to donate food
Getting that food to the finish
Ordering water/additional food/utensils/cups/plates for finish
Feeding people / staffing food stations
Manning three aid stations (and arranging for water for them)
EMT coverage for three aid stations
Coordinating sponsors
Establishing massage stations
Securing baggage
Maintaining email list and sending out mass emails
Laying out, and then sweeping, ~800 flags
Supervising cheerleaders
Finding/providing start line and finish line music
Obtaining permits
Obtaining insurance for every municipality and sponsor
Coordinating four police departments
Coordinating parking
Race day communications via ham radio
Finalizing results and fixing scoring errors

Are you getting the idea here, about what it is that you actually did? As I watched it all unfold, I was absolutely mesmerized. I would dump some project on someone — often a person with a full time job — and that person would just get the job done, consuming, usually, several hours of time.

All of your effort shows, and this is apparent if you take a look at the reviews. Year after year the reviews come in that you guys nailed those logistics, and this year, I think, more so than most.

Over the last three years we’ve averaged about 700 runners. They come in from 15-20 states and we often find runners now flying in to see family/friends on this particular weekend so that they can run our race. It’s what a community event is all about.

In my recap of the race I tipped my tricorn hat to the runners for having pushed through on such a humid, soupy day. But to our volunteers, I tip it twice.

It. Doesn’t. Happen. Without. You.