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Monday, March 20, 2017

Shamrockin' and volunteering

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!


  1. I love that you volunteer at a race as a beer pourer before rushing home to head to church! Best of both worlds, right?

    I volunteer a ton. I think I've volunteered at more races this year than I've run (gotta love injuries). I typically do packet pick up, but I've done it all... water stops, setup, teardown, promotions, etc. I figure it's all good training because one day all our local race directors will retire or stop and someone will have to take over for them.

    1. Yep, I did lots of volunteering when I was injured! Good points about up and coming RDs. I am probably not cut out for it, but maybe I should do a stint on the board of my local running club?

  2. Volunteering is super fun!! Sometimes I don't enjoy getting out there that early (people forget that volunteers have to arrive way earlier than runners), but it's never been a bad experience. I've already volunteered twice this year and have a few more races I'll be volunteering at in the upcoming months.

  3. Oh man I can't imagine drinking Guinness while running. I'm not a beer drinker, though. I think the puke potential would be high for me. I just think of all that carbonated beer bouncing around in my tummy.

    A lot of people in my run club are head course marshalls for the Twin Cities Marathon, so when I'm not running it, I try to volunteer. I didn't this past year as I had something going on but I went out and cheered which is sort of another way to volunteer. ;) I agree that I need to make more of an effort to volunteer as us runners definitely benefit from all the volunteers!

  4. I usually do a water stop at 1 local half per year, but it's the whole she-bang. About 7 hours. Set-up, water distribution, tear-down. I also usually volunteer for about 4 or 5 shifts (2 hours each) of packet pick-up for other races. I can't imagine doing an 8k with beer -- I think the mile is much more suited to that! But very fun idea, although I agree, 4 oz of beer doesn't count for much...