Wednesday night was the start of the Endless Summer Trail Run Series of races for the year. Last year I ran almost all of these races, and had an amazing time with them. They are shorter distance trail races at local parks from 5K to 7 miles. They are meant to be quick midweek gatherings to introduce people to trail running and for old friends to gather for a nice quick evening run.
This year, instead of running the race, I decided to volunteer for a couple of them. After arriving and saying hi to some friends I got my first of two assignments. First, I was on parking lot duty. Because this is a midweek race, when people are rushing from work, sometimes people get there a bit late and cranky. It’s hard to have to tell people that they’re going to need to park a ways away and then run in as fast as they can to hit the start in time. Thankfully there was a slight delay in the race start tonight that gave some people the extra time they needed.
Once the race kicked off I moved over to my second assignment of the night, working the finish line. Myself, and a couple other folks were assigned with helping runners who crossed the finish line, and giving them ice water sponges, and any other assistance they needed. We quickly noticed that people were turning the wrong way after finishing, so I move over closer to the actual finish line itself and ended up being the main greeter as people crossed over.
It was a ton of fun to encourage everyone as they completed the race and get them pointed in the right direction. Total strangers giving me high-fives and just plain happy to see all the wonderful volunteers there to help them. I got to see lots of friends cross the line as well, including my wife who decided to run this race this year. As the finish rate slowed I also got a chance to chat with other friends who were helping at the line and find out about their summer plans.
All in all, it was a really fun night to be out among a great trail running community. These ESTRS races are a great introduction to a wonderful group of people, and a really fun way to get some exercise outside.