spotlight on helping out

This is a sponsored post. I am a race Ambassador for ZOOMA Florida and have received a complimentary race entry as compensation for my post. All opinions are my own.

One of the best things that I discovered about running was the actual community as a whole. I was so insecure when I started running that I never imagined the people who were training and racing around me would be so incredibly supportive and welcoming and awesome. For me, it created a sense of family, a team dynamic in what is mostly considered an individual sport.

It’s a great feeling.

There is so much support and so much camaraderie out there on the race courses. The energy created at the scene of an event is an almost tangible thing – there is buzz and chatter, jangling nerves and laughter. And that’s just from the athletes.

Behind the scenes, there is an entirely different engine at work. Event organizers work hard to ensure a seamless race, from a clear course to security to entertainment to bling. They measure out distances, test timing apparatus and bring in sponsors to provide support. They coordinate bibs and bag checks and photographers to commemorate the run.

It’s kind of a monumental job. And it’s absolutely not possible without the aid of volunteers, who donate their time and skills to help make the race experience even more enjoyable for the athletes. Volunteers man water stations, hand out post-race refreshments, distribute medals and even help stiff runners remove timing chips from their shoes.

Last year, Kristin and I volunteered at a large local marathon/half marathon. We distributed medals at the finish line, and it was really one of my most fond running memories.  I loved being part of the other side of the action, and I loved getting to see the runners crossing that finish line, reading the stories of their efforts in their faces.

Volunteers are an absolutely vital part of every race event, and it’s so great to see both individuals and groups out on and around the course, lending their energy and support to the overall ambiance.

In just about two months, two great local groups will be coming out to offer their talents to ZOOMA Florida in Amelia Island, Little Women of Fernandina Beach

and University of North Florida Dance Marathon.

Both of these groups have histories of dedication to charity work and helping others and  will be at the ZOOMA Florida race to offer helping hands and support. It will be great to see them at the expo and after-party, on the course and at the finish line, bringing spirit and enthusiasm to help the athletes putting in their miles.  We are so glad to have them!

There are only 54 days until ZOOMA Florida on January 17, 2015 in scenic Amelia Island. If you want to join us by volunteering, as an individual or as a group, click here for more information. Or, if you want to join us by running the half marathon, 12K or 5K, click here to do so. Don’t forget to use code JENN15 for 10% off the entry fee for any distance!

Let me know if we’ll see you out there at the after-party at the Ritz-Carlton! And don’t forget to join me and my fellow ambassadors for a long training run on January 3! You can RSVP here for a ten mile run (complete with aid stations and pacers), on January 3, 2015 at 7:00 AM at the 1st Place Sports in St. Johns Town Center (4870 Big Island Drive, Jacksonville). We are all looking forward to it!

If you volunteer at races you choose not to run, what’s your favorite way to help?

Have you ever volunteered in a big group?

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6 Responses to spotlight on helping out

  1. Darlene says:

    I wish I lived in Florida. I would love to run this race. 54 days!! I am actually running the West Palm half the same day!! I am visiting friends there for the long weekend.
    Darlene recently posted…My 1st & last Sat group runMy Profile

  2. Thank you for posting this! I think this is such an important, and rarely discussed topic in the running world!

    NO ONE in a race impresses me more than the volunteers at a cold, windy, icky race. Unlike the runners, they don’t have the option of, well, running to warm up their bodies. They brave the conditions and maintain the most incredible and positive spirit for the benefit of the runners. I honestly don’t know how they do it!
    I have never volunteered at a race, but I know that it is high time I do so.

    Also, shout out to Dance Marathon! I danced the 26.2 for 3 years at UF and to this da I donate every year, and it my most passionate cause! Thank you UNF for dancing!
    Anne @ CandyCrazedrun.com recently posted…Can You Believe It?My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      That’s great that you were part of Dance Marathon! Sounds like it was a blast!

      I agree – the volunteers make it all possible, and they are there out of the goodness of their hearts. I try to make a special effort to say thank you and be kind to the volunteers for coming out and helping!

      Let me know when you volunteer at a race! I know you’ll love the experience!

  3. I ALWAYS make a point of thanking the volunteers on course! The ones handing out water, the ones stationed on turns so I don’t get lost, the ones at the end with the bling, and I even thank the random spectators who cheer for me. (Especially them!) I keep saying I want to give back and volunteer at a race, but I haven’t picked one to do that yet. I’ll have to work on that!
    I wish I lived closer, ZOOMA sounds like such a great event!
    Stacie Seidman recently posted…Thursday’s ThreadsMy Profile

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