Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Helping Others Smile and Move

On Sunday, Dave and I volunteered at the Perk Up Half Marathon, aka the Hurricane Half. Sunday marked the second attempt at the race's innaugural event. In 2011, Hurricane Irene and her flooding rains and tree felling winds put the kabash on attempt number 1. 

Several of my running and walking buddies participated in the event. Here is a photo of them after they all finished! I was only back from vacation the Tuesday before and did not feel I'd be ready. This makes me wimp #1. For two of the ladies in this photo, Perk up was their second in as many weeks and another had just returned from vacation the DAY before. These people are rock stars! 

Anyway, the race sounded like fun and when the organizers put a call for more volunteers I decided to sign up for that. Someone asked me if Perki, our running group mascot would be there.

That's when I got the idea to velcro Perki to my hat and bring him along. The tutu was a nod to the gang who participated in the Color Run earlier this summer all wearing TuTus (guys included). The socks were part of my jingle bell run costume and I added them because....well why not? The goal was to make people smile, giggle or laugh out loud as they worked their way through the hilly 13.1 miles. I know that volunteers in general and costumed ones in particular have picked me up in more than a few races. 

Dave and I were assigned to mile 3 of the race. Mile 3 came about 1/4 of the way up a long slow climb. The participants came off a flat section and turned the corner to see this hill. "Oh crap!" ...would have been my reaction had I been running the race. We parked our car, turned the radio on loud tuned to the oldies station and waited for the first runners.

Perki and the tutu got lots of smiles. One pair of women wanted a photo with us. One woman wanted to know where I found Perki. She had a friend who refers to herself as the "turtle pacer" and she wanted to get one. Later, at the finish line that same woman found me and took a picture of Perki to show her friend. One group referred to me as the Summit Fairy - that's a new one - and made ME laugh. Unfortunately where we were standing only looked like the top of the hill. Once you got there you could see the rest of the long slow climb. So we tried to make people laugh at a time when they wanted to cry or at the very least whine.

We cheered and clapped and made lots of noise for an hour as approximately 600 runners and walkers tackled that hill. Then Dave and Perki and I headed to the finish line to cheer people in. We arrived shortly before the lead runner crossed the line. My friends starting arriving around 2:10 into the race. As each of our group finished, Maggi - whose photos you see in today's post - took a picture of them all with their medals. She had also been out on the route taking photos of them in action. When the last of our group returned they posed for the group photo you see above. Another friend, Lyn, brought the fabulous and almost famous ice cold orange towels for each of our group as they finished.

Probably the best part of the day - and one of the many reasons I so love my running / walking friends - was cheering for the very last finisher as she crossed the finish line about 3 hours and 45 minutes after it started. Our group was very noisy and animated in our congratulations to her. She was very tired but I'm pretty sure she appreciated it. I know I would have ......

I had so much fun that I think I might make this an event to repeat as a volunteer. In high school and college I had a secret wish to be the school mascot. The dork inside the costume doing crazy stuff to make people laugh. Of course those people were a bit smarter than I....they had their heads covered! LOL

Save the date - August 25, 2013 -  you can run or walk the Perk Up Half Marathon. It's a fun event, friendly to all paces and from what my friends told me a very scenic - albeit hilly - course. Maybe i'll see you there! I have a year to come up with a new costume.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVED seeing you as I came up that hill! Thanks so much for being an awesome volunteer, the race went so smoothly! I also wrote a post on the race, from the runner perspective! http://cupcakesrun.blogspot.com/2012/08/perk-up-recap.html