Thursday, March 25, 2010

LA Marathon Recap: A Volunteer's Perspective

This past Sunday I volunteered at the LA Marathon.  One of my best friends was running it and I really wanted to be on the course to support her.  Originally I was planning on making a poster and picking a spot on the course to stand and cheer everyone one, but then I thought back to my first half marathon at Surf City and remembered how important and encouraging the volunteers were...especially towards the end when the cramps and fatigue set in.  So I decided I was going to support ALL runners by volunteering at a water station near the end of the 26.2 journey…the Mile 20 water station to be exact!
Not only was my best friend, her brother, and our other friend running LAM, but a bunch of people on Twitter were running it too! I wanted to shout out to them all and cheer them on, but with water cups in my hand I wouldn’t be able to hold a poster or anything.  Then a brilliant suggestion came from @anotorias
 and @IronmanLongRunr on Twitter.  Make a shirt!  So I made a shirt on Saturday that looked like this:
If I had more time I would have made something a little nicer than Sharpie, but at least it was colorful and did the job! :)  I’ll tell ya, writing on fabric is much harder than one would think…the sharpie pulls the fabric then ‘jumps’ over the wrinkle and leaves a space so you have to go back over it to complete the stroke.  Anyways enough about that…I made the shirt and got a TON of compliments on it at the Marathon!!
For some reason I couldn’t sleep the night before and woke up on Sunday at 3am.  It’s a good thing I did because our volunteer confirmation said nothing about meeting points or parking so it was a shot in the dark when heading up to LA.  I left my house around 4:30 and zoomed up there (the one time LA has no traffic is between 4:30 and 5am haha!).  I first went to Santa Monica where the buses were shuttling runners to Dodger Stadium in hopes to ask security where the best place for mile 20 is.  No go.  I ended up pulling out my iPhone and google maps-ing Mile 20.  Why I didn’t do this in the first place, I have no idea.  So I cruise over to Mile 20 at the Veterans Affairs building and the streets are now closed off.  I ended up parking a mile away in some residential area and waited in my car until the sun started to come up.  Finally the sun started to pop out around 6:30 so I walked over to the VA hospital.

I eventually found the Mile 20 marker and water station and helped filling cups and stacking them on the tables.
Me with some of the volunteers
The end of Mile 20 H20 station on the Veterans Affairs grounds
A couple hours later, the wheelchair marathoners came through (what stamina!) followed by the elite runners. All I have to say is WOW.  Are these people built to run or are they built to run!?  Given this is their profession, but they were mesmerizing to watch.  The elite men hit mile 20 at 1:39 and the elite women at 1:53.  Pretty incredible.  They were FAST.
Woo hoo!!!  Do these guys have endurance or what?
 Here come the elite women!
They appear to do it with ease.  Wow!
On to the masses!!!  This is when it became super fun for me because I screamed and cheered so loudly while handing out water! It was great to see everyone run by.  I saw some Elvises, clowns, cheerleaders, I even saw Shia LeBeouf but didn't realize it was him until AFTER he passed by me.  Even Minnie Mouse made an appearance:
If I can only going to say one thing about volunteering at the LA Marathon it’s that the runners were incredible! Not in their running, but in their support of the volunteers and their enthusiasm towards us.  Even at Mile 20 when fatigue and cramps are setting in, the runners were cheering ME on and supporting me as a volunteer!  It was incredible!  All the runners were so gracious and grateful that I couldn’t help but keep my enthusiasm at its peak for the entire 8 hours I was out there! A few runners passed by the water person in front of me and said pointing at me “I’m getting water from her!  She’s super energetic and I want whatever she’s having!”  Haha this made me laugh and cheer harder than ever.  LA Marathoners, YOU ROCK!!!
I got to see my best friend who kicked LAM’s butt!  I was able to meet @gwjones00 in person finally who also rocked LAM!  Unfortunately I didn’t get to see all my tweeps, but there’s always the next race!!!

My best friend Koko and our friend Drew...almost to the finish!!!
 Me and Glenn (@gwjones00)  Great job Glenn!
After the 26.2 journey!  I'm SO proud of them!
I had such a fun time volunteering.  It was fun to experience a race from another perspective, from the sidelines, and volunteering my time and support to all the runners!
Oh, and I got this pretty sweet cotton long sleeve out of it (and it just so happens to be Laker gold!!  Go Lakers!!!)

The front reads:  "Honda | LA Marathon" "sponsored by K Swiss"
The back reads:  "RACE TEAM"
I love it!

Afterwards I went to Koko's house for a celebratory feast prepared by Koko's incredible chef parents!  Of course I had to snap this gem of a pic with her newly earned (albeit not the prettiest) medal!

We've been friends since we were 7!!
Yay for LAM and everyone who ran, volunteered, and participated in any way to make it such a successful and fun event!  Who knows...maybe I'll experience from the runner perspective next year...

To the runners of the LA Marathon, you guys are incredible and you all did a fantastic job!!!!  Way to Rock LAM!!!



  1. What a fun recap! Yay for volunteers :)

  2. Thank YOU Mags! We (the runners) can't do these things without the hundreds of people like you willing to give up a weekend to help us out. We get medals, food, etc. All you get is a t-shirt. That's why I always try to thank the volunteers!


    And thanks for being my mile 20 goal. I was having a tough time out there. I didn't want to let you down! (Who am I kidding?)

  3. I got some water at mile 20...I may or may not have thanked you then...I THANK YOU NOW!!

  4. Thank you for volunteering! I didn't run the race, but no race is possible without volunteers, so thank you!!!

    BTW, that Minnie Mouse is FAST. He passed me during Boston 2008 and I was on sub-3 pace at the time. It's pretty funny getting passed by a man wearing Minnie Mouse while running at that speed!