Monday, November 5, 2012

Inland Trail race report

I had hoped the Inland Trail 5K would be my second race, but a painful neck spasm a few days before prevented me from walking. So instead, I volunteered!

This is another relatively small race (~420 participants), with a full and half marathon in addition to the 5K, proceeds going to benefit the Murray Ridge Center for Developmentally Disabled. The ranks of the full marathon were swelled with about 40-50 runners who traveled to Ohio after the cancelation of the NYC Marathon. (More on that later!)

I learned a lot about how much work goes into even a small event of this type. A relatively small number of volunteers put together race packets, set up the race course, register racers, track finishers, provide food post-race, and more. I spent a couple of hours on Saturday handing out race packets; my pre-race job on Sunday was handing out timing chips. After the race, I handed out finishers medals and water, and assisted where needed. It was the best part of the day: congratulating the runners, seeing their expressions of joy, relief, pain, pride and exhaustion, thanking them and getting their thanks in return.

Marathoners line up at the start.

And they're off!

As I mentioned, several dozen NYC marathoners chose the Inland Trail as an alternate race, and they were two of the top male finishers and all three top female finishers. Most of the top runners were Ohioans returning home to race. One woman I spoke to was using it as the final training race before she takes on the JFK 50 miler in Maryland in two weeks. These two guys had traveled all the way from South Australia to run a marathon, then rented a car in NYC to do it in Ohio.

If you are a runner who has never volunteered at a race, I highly recommend it. It will give you a great appreciation for all the hard work and dedication that goes into making a race a success!

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