Sunday I decided to give back to the running community. I have always wanted to volunteer at a race, the problem is I am normally running all the local races so there is no chance to volunteer. The past two years I ran the Clearwater Halfathon (1/2 marathon). It is a great race and this year they added a full marathon distance to the event. I signed up to hand out medals to all of the finishers. I had an amazing time volunteering. The medals for the Clearwater Halfathon and Clearwater Marathon were top-notch (see photos) and the athletes were so much fun to watch. Volunteering really made me appreciate what goes on during a race to make the experience enjoyable for the runners.
I ended up unboxing, unwrapping and organizing all of the 1/2 and full marathon medals while the runners were out on the course. Once the runners started finishing the half marathon myself along with a handful of other volunteers passed out the medals to the finishers. The reactions when an athlete crosses the finish line are priceless. Some finish like it was nothing and go about the rest of their day like normal. Others are sobbing, in pain, dizzy, gave the race everything they could. The best reactions are from the athletes that have just accomplished something that they never thought was possible. Those are my favorite reactions.
Congratulations to all of the Clearwater 5 mile, half marathon and marathon finishers. Display those beautiful medals with pride!
If you are looking for a scenic, fun, well organized, mid-size winter destination race definitely consider the Clearwater Running Festival next January!
On a side note: If you follow our Facebook, twitter or instagram pages you know that a few weeks ago I placed first in my age group at the Deleon Springs Half Marathon. I ran that race on a whim and I am glad I did. It was a small, flat, shaded half marathon just outside of Deland, Florida. The selling point was $35 day-of-race registration. That makes it probably the best half marathon deal ever!