Sunday was the Shamrockin' Run 8k here in New Orleans. It's a road race that includes an option to complete the Guinness challenge, drinking five beers along the way. In the past, it's been billed as an elite race, a place to set 8k records, probably to compete with the CCC 10k here in April. But I saw no mention of an elite field this year, so I think that plan was dropped.
I signed up to volunteer at the 3-mile Guinness stop for set-up duty. I ran over there to arrive at 7:30 am (the water stop was less than 2 miles from my house, and I detoured through the park to see the finish line set up as well and to get about five miles in). I reached my corner about ten minutes early, but the race officials were already there, waiting for me. They can't leave cases of beer alone in the street, so they just had to sit until I arrived. Good thing I was early! More volunteers joined as time passed, and we waited until the street closed to set up our beer tables.
Each runner drinks four ounces of Guinness at each stop for five drinks total (that's so weird to me - like, not enough beer to even make it worth being a beer run). The cans of Guinness were 14 ounces each, but I think we managed to estimate four-ounce pours pretty well. We had three tables with about 700 cups of beer, stacked with cardboard, by the time we were done.
And then I ran back home, showered and changed as fast as I could, and headed to church! As I passed the park on the way home, I saw the lead man making his way through the park, but besides that, I left too early to see any racers.
Today reminded me that I REALLY need to volunteer at races more. I haven't volunteered in two years! And that's a shame, because as a member of the running community, I should do my part to allow everyone to enjoy races. I'm really going to try to volunteer at races more often in the future, especially ones I wouldn't plan on running, anyway.
Have you volunteered at a race before? What's your favorite way to volunteer? I must say, set-up was way less stressful than actually manning a water stop - making sure every runner got water was a high-pressure job!